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Dog trainer wins new sentencing

6/17/2005

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court ordered a new
sentencing Tuesday for a dog trainer who provided defective
bomb-sniffing dogs to the U.S. government in the months after the
2001 terrorist attacks.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
affirmed Russell Lee Ebersole's convictions on 25 wire fraud counts
and two counts of lying to the government but threw out his 6{-year
prison sentence.

The court said Ebersole was entitled to a new sentencing in
light of the Supreme Court's ruling in January striking down
mandatory federal sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines now are
only advisory.

The U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria had no immediate
comment on the ruling, spokeswoman Sam Dibbley said.

Ebersole, of Hagerstown, Md., owned a business called Detector
Dogs Against Drugs and Explosives in Stephenson, Va. Federal
agencies, including the State Department, the Federal Reserve and
the IRS, paid Ebersole more than $700,000 for his services between
September 2001 and May 2002.

His contracts were canceled after his dogs failed several
independent tests, including one in which the dogs and handlers
were unable to detect 50 pounds of dynamite and 15 pounds of C-4
plastic explosives hidden at the Federal Reserve parking garage in
Washington.

Ebersole has insisted his dogs were competent and blamed his
conviction on jealous competitors.