Defense attorneys for former Gov. Marvin Mandel yesterday formally asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stand by its members' ruling that overturned Mandel's political corruption conviction.

In a 36-page document filed with the appellate court in Richmond, the attorneys argued that a new hearing by the full court-which is what federal prosecutors are seeking in the Mandel case - is "inappropriate" for various reasons.

The prosecutors claim that the reversal was in conflict with prior court decisions. But these claims "are not only incorrect, but . . . grealty exaggerated," the attorneys argued.

Federal prosecutors in Baltimore asked last month that the full court reconsider the split decision by a three-judge panel, which held that the trial of Mandel and his five codefendants had been so marred by technical erros that their convictions must be overturned.

The prosecutors argued that a full court review should be granted because of the importance of the case aned because the panel decision marked "a radical departure from prior precendent."

Defense attorneys disagreed, asserting that the prosecutors are incorrect in their "contention that this is a case of exceptional importance simply because it involves the prosecution of a former governor."

They argued that it is unlikely that "future prosecutions of public officials on mail fraud charges will be af-4th Circuit panel that reversed Mandel's conviction last January.