Attorneys for Mary Treadwell, the former head of the Youth Pride job-training program who was convicted two weeks ago of conspiring to defraud the government, yesterday asked the presiding judge in the case to set aside the verdict or order a new trial.

John W. Nields Jr., Treadwell's attorney, asked U.S. District Court Judge John Garrett Penn to set aside the jury's finding that Treadwell was guilty of the conspiracy charge and of seven counts of making false statements because "the evidence does not support the verdicts."

The jury, which deliberated a record 131 hours over 17 days before reaching its decision, acquitted Treadwell of nine other counts of making false statements, three charges of evading taxes and one of wire fraud.

Nields, in a lengthy 67-page motion for acquittal, listed eight major points that he said required setting aside the verdict or a new trial. Many of the points concerned Penn's instructions to the jury on what the prosecution needed to show to prove Treadwell conspired to defraud the government and tenants of a low-income housing project.

Nields also argued that the jury was improperly given prosecution documents not formally submitted into evidence in the case and that the jury was improperly prejudiced against Treadwell when Penn refused to sever the tax evasion counts from the rest of the case.

Defense motions to set aside jury verdicts are commonly offered but rarely granted in criminal cases. Shortly after the verdict was announced, Nields verbally asked Penn to set the jury's decision aside, and Penn denied that motion. Prosecutors have seven days to respond to Nield's motion.

In the meantime, Treadwell, who faces up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $80,000, remains free on personal bond.