LOS ANGELES – A federal judge yesterday rejected Standard & Poor’s bid to dismiss a Justice Department suit claiming the Wall Street rating agency intentionally ignored its own standards rating risky investments sold to WesCorp FCU and Eastern Financial Florida CU, and others, moving the landmark case closer to trial.

In a 19-page ruling issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Judge David Carter said the Justice Department has sufficiently pleaded an intent to defraud investors who were fooled by their ratings, including WesCorp, the one-time $34 billion corporate, and Eastern Financial, a $2.4 billion Miami credit union, both of which were taken over by NCUA in 2009. “Any dispute over the veracity of these claims, or contested facts, are properly challenged at a later stage of litigation,” wrote Judge Carter.

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