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Va AG hiring private firm for Star Scientific suit

Friday - 4/5/2013, 2:48pm  ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has secured two private lawyers to defend Virginia in a lawsuit over a $700,000 tax dispute filed by Star Scientific Inc., a company that represents Cuccinelli's lone stock investment.

The presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate appointed Republican former state solicitor general William Hurd and Democratic former Attorney General Stephen Rosenthal.

The move follows reporting by The Associated Press and The Washington Post about Cuccinelli's $10,000 to $50,000 investment in Star Scientific. The company sued the state in 2011, and the case has been dormant since August 2011.

Cuccinelli had said there is no conflict of interest and no reason for his office to recuse itself in the case.

Attorney general's spokesman Brian Gottstein said Cuccinelli is changing his mind in "an abundance of caution."

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