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Judge to rule on whether Chesapeake stands trial

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CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — A northern Michigan judge says she'll issue a ruling later on whether Chesapeake Energy should stand trial on racketeering charges that accuse it of leasing land to thwart competitors and then canceling the deals when the competition ended.

A probable cause hearing in the criminal case against the Oklahoma City-based company began Aug. 18 and ended Wednesday in Cheboygan District Court. Judge Maria Barton says she'll review the evidence and issue a written opinion later.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (SHOO'-tee) filed the charges over land deals in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer says it's contesting what it calls "baseless allegations."

A Dec. 2 trial is scheduled in a separate antitrust case that accuses Chesapeake of rigging bids at a 2010 state oil and gas lease auction.

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