South Hills businessman asks for new trial in mortgage fraud case

An attorney to get a South Hills businessman convicted of orchestrating the area ‘s greatest mortgage fraud scheme has asked to get a fresh trial on the grounds that his old attorney fell asleep during trial in U.S. District Court last month.

James Brink, made by U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose to represent James Nassida, has requested the judge to allow his client a new trial on the grounds of ineffective counsel on the part of Stan Levenson.

Mr. Brink has refused opinion but in his motion said that Nassida’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial was violated because Mr. Levenson nodded off at stages during the sophisticated prosecution, which took most of October.

Mr. Brink said he’d not yet studied the case but was relying on narratives in the Post Gazette in filing his motion. After Nassida and his sister, Janna Nassida, were convicted, among the prosecutors pointed out that Mr. Levenson had drifted off a few times. The judge subsequently questioned about whether they’d seen the jury. Eleven of the 12 jurors said they had.

Janna Nassida, who had been facing prison time, committed suicide. In a note she said her case was lied about by the prosecution. Her attorney failed to return a message seeking opinion.

James Nassida ran Century III Home Equity and his sister was the No. 2 official there. The U.S. lawyer’s office said the pair orchestrated a scheme to inflate borrower income and assets to get millions in deceptive loans.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com.

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