A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

U.S. District Court Judge in New York denies all Michael Hild’s new trial motions; Dusing exonerated

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

Attorney Ben Dusing’s temporary suspension by the Kentucky Bar Association was overwhelmingly caused by outrageous allegations made by his Covington Catholic classmate Michael Hild, including that Dusing was on drugs during his five-week federal criminal jury trial in New York.

Dusing was defending Hild in his trial. Hild was found guilty and filed a motion for a new trial, blaming Dusing.

Michael Hild (Photo by Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court Judge resoundingly rejected all of Hill’s claims and said of Dusing:

“On the whole, he was a zealous, passionate, articulate, and compelling advocate who presented a cogent defense theory” and “advanced his case by cross examination, especially of two key government witnesses, and through Hild’s testimony.”

The New York federal court is widely considered one of the most prestigious courts in the country.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York has denied all of Hild’s motions related to his 2021 conviction on securities fraud involving Live Well Financial, a company he founded that offered reverse mortgages.

Abrams set a sentencing date for January 27, 2023. Hild faces recommended sentencing under federal guidelines of life imprisonment.

Hild, a graduate of Covington Catholic High School, now lives in Richmond, Va., and made millions of dollars as CEO of the company he established in 2005. He built the company on “reverse mortgages,” a financial product that provides liquidity to senior homeowners with monthly cash income tied to their home equity.

When hard times hit the markets and Hild’s elaborate international funding dried up, his financial empire started to unwind and he was ultimately charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud and faced those charges in a 14-day trial in the Southern District of New York. He engaged his Covington Catholic classmate and friend, Benjamin Dusing, who had a distinguished professional career both as a federal prosecutor and as an attorney in private practice who earned a reputation as a top “white collar crime” defense litigator.

The jury trial resulted in a guilty verdict for Hild in 2021. Within days of the verdict, Hild terminated Dusing and hired a new lawyer. To file a motion for a new trial, Hild – through his new attorney – filed motions for a new trial on the basis of “sufficiency of the evidence, prejudicial error related to certain opinion testimony, and ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Specific to the allegations of “ineffective assistance of counsel,” Abrams says of Dusing, that his “performance was strong, and at the very least on par with that of other white-collar litigators who regularly practice in this district.”

Dusing, the judge said, was able to “synthesize the complicated financial concepts and transactions at issue in the case, and had a disposition that appeared to be well-received by the jury.”

Dusing admits that the Hild case is “complicated.”

“It was an honor to represent Mike,” Dusing told the NKyTribune. “I continue to believe in his innocence.

“But — the rest of it I don’t really appreciate.”

Since his conviction, for the past year and a half, Hild has engaged in what the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York has publicly characterized as a campaign of harrassment and disinformation against Dusing.

Part of that campaign involved making false allegations against Dusing with the Kentucky Bar which didn’t wait for the decision by the U.S. District Court before suspending Dusing.

Despite being hurt by the obvious betrayal, Dusing still expresses compassion for his former friend. “In the end, I will always love my friend Mike. Frankly, I think he got used by people here who were involved in my domestic cases and had a different agenda.”

Related Posts

Leave a Comment