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July 11, 2014

Judge orders trial for Chesapeake in leasing case

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. — A Michigan judge has ordered an Oklahoma City-based energy company to stand trial on criminal charges in what authorities say was a land-leasing scheme.

According to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Chesapeake Energy Corp. rigged bids at a 2010 state oil and gas lease auction.

Cheboygan District Judge Maria Barton says there’s enough evidence to send the company to trial on one count of violating Michigan’s antitrust law. Barton has dismissed two other charges, and Schuette said Thursday he’ll appeal that decision.

Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer has said the company believes the charges are without merit and it “will vigorously contest” the allegations.

No trial date has been set in Cheboygan Circuit Court.

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