Michael Hild, the former CEO of defunct reverse mortgage lender Live Well Financial, was slated to have an opportunity in March to make his case for either an acquittal or the commencement of a new trial. Now, a hearing on those matters has been delayed and will take place late next month in Manhattan, according to court documents reviewed by RMD and reporting by press in Richmond, Va., Hild’s local community.
Hild, who last April was found guilty of playing a role in a fraud scheme that artificially inflated the value of the former lender’s bonds, contends that he was not a beneficiary of adequate counsel stemming from a series of legal difficulties and disputes on the part of his former attorney, Benjamin Dusing. Shortly after the verdict was handed down, Hild enlisted the services of a new attorney — Brian A. Jacobs — who has had a specialty in the appeals process.
Jacobs has been filing a series of letters in the case since December on behalf of Hild, informing presiding Judge Ronnie Abrams of a series of events regarding other legal cases involving Dusing. The lawyer’s law license has been suspended in the states of Kentucky and Ohio, respectively, stemming from an incident involving a video Dusing posted to social media allegedly depicting him issuing verbal threats to the staff attorney presiding over custody cases in Kentucky the lawyer is involved in, according to Jacobs.
The aim is to illustrate that since the custody cases at the center of Dusing’s suspensions took place concurrently with the trial of Hild, Hild was not a beneficiary of adequate counsel, and the suspensions only further prove Dusing’s flaws as a provider of counsel to Hild according to Jacobs.
“In suspending Mr. Dusing’s license, the supreme courts of the two states in which Mr. Dusing is licensed to practice law have implicitly found Mr. Dusing to not be credible, as another court in Kentucky has expressly found,” Jacobs wrote to Judge Abrams on March 2. “This Court, too, should not credit Mr. Dusing.”
Lawyers for the federal government have not issued any replies to Jacobs’ assertions about Dusing’s ability to provide adequate counsel to Hild in the wake of his challenges in Ohio and Kentucky. In August 2021, however, the government argued that based on the facts presented in the actual April 2021 trial as well as through sworn affidavits of Hild’s prior attorneys, Hild’s requests should not be met.
“Hild’s weight-of-the-evidence arguments fail substantially for the reasons that his motion for judgment of acquittal fails,” the government concluded in a letter to Judge Abrams. “Put simply, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find Hild guilty. There is no basis for whatever for any concern, let alone a ‘real’ concern ‘that an innocent person may have been convicted.’ […] Hild’s motion for a new trial should be denied.”
The new hearing is scheduled for April 29, one day prior to the one-year anniversary of the case’s original verdict. Read local reporting on the matter at RichmondBizSense.
Editor’s note: The language of this story was changed to more precisely reflect the outcome of the April 2021 trial.