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Frank Quattrone, the highest-ranking securities executive to face prison since junk-bond pioneer Michael Milken was sentenced, will try to overturn his obstruction-of-justice conviction by attacking evidence rulings by the presiding judge, his lawyer said.

The odds are against Quattrone, who managed more initial public offerings for Internet companies than any banker. Fewer than 15 percent of convictions are reversed on appeal, and appellate courts usually defer to a trial judge’s evidence rulings, say defense lawyers not involved in the case, such as Jack Sylvia.

“You need to demonstrate that the judge made a decision about evidence that deprives you of your constitutional right to a fair trial,” said Sylvia, a lawyer at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo in Boston. “It’s a fairly high threshold.”

Quattrone’s appeal is his only hope for avoiding a prison term, which his lawyer says will be about a year in length under sentencing guidelines. A successful appeal is likely to be decided after Quattrone, 48, enters prison.

Even then, Quattrone, who headed Credit Suisse First Boston’s technology unit, must defend actions by the National Association of Securities Dealers if he hopes to work again in the regulated-securities industry. NASD, a regulatory agency, is seeking a lifetime bar to his working in the industry, spokesman Herb Perone said.

Other than Milken, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 1990, another similar precedent is John Mulheren, who headed his own trading firm, Mulheren & Co. He was implicated in an insider- trading scandal by arbitrager Ivan Boesky. Mulheren was convicted of fraud and sentenced to a year in prison. A federal appeals court threw out his conviction in 1991.

Milken, the former Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. head of junk bond trading, pleaded guilty to six counts of securities fraud in 1990, paid a $1 billion fine and served about two years in prison after his original 10-year sentence was reduced because he developed prostate cancer. Milken, who was barred from the securities industry for life, now heads a non-profit think-tank. He does not work in the securities industry.

The successful appeal of the Mulheren conviction offers more hope for Quattrone, who helped bring Cisco Systems Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Netscape Communications Inc. public.

“There was a lot of evidence the jury didn’t hear,” Quattrone’s lawyer, John Keker, told reporters after the jury in New York returned its verdict against Quattrone yesterday. “We have to do this thing until we get it right.”

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