Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who dismissed charges against 13 of the defendants in the KPMG tax shelter case earlier this week, has issued a temporary stay on his own decision.

Prosecutors had appealed the federal judge's decision and asked for the stay. The judge also moved the trial date for the remaining five defendants, including three former KPMG employees, from September to October. Prosecutors had asked for an indefinite postponement.

Judge Kaplan had dismissed the charges on July 16 against the 13 defendants after blaming prosecutors for heavy-handed tactics in pressuring KPMG not to pay the legal expenses of its former employees, who were charged with setting up illegal tax shelters for clients. He issued the stay after prosecutors argued that some of the legal counsel for the defendants might decide to withdraw from the case because the charges had been dismissed. If the court of appeals then overturned any of the dismissals, the counsel's hasty withdrawal might delay any subsequent proceedings.

But Judge Kaplan said he did not issue the stay because he agreed that the prosecutors would be successful in overturning his decision. "Nothing herein is intended to suggest that the government satisfied any criterion relating to likelihood of success on appeal," he wrote.

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