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Ex-Broker Convicted in Murder Plot

December 23, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former broker was convicted Friday of trying to hire someone to kill the judge hearing his securities fraud case.

Stuart Winkler, 48, was found guilty of second-degree conspiracy and faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 4. His wife, June, wept in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

As former chief financial officer of the A.S. Goldmen brokerage firm, Winkler was one of more than 30 employees indicted on charges of defrauding thousands of customers out of more than $100 million.

Winkler, of Morganville, N.J., was accused of offering fellow inmate Carl Ligon $50,000 to kill State Supreme Court Justice Leslie Crocker Snyder. The former broker testified that Ligon suggested the killing after hearing him complain that his $1 million cash bail was too high and worrying that he would not get a fair trial.

Defense lawyers said Winkler tried to avoid Ligon and accused the career criminal of forcing the alleged plot upon their client.

Ligon, facing 20 years to life in prison on weapons charges, agreed to help prosecutors in the Winkler case in exchange for sentence leniency.

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