Attorneys for convicted former state Sen. Vince Fumo filed court papers yesterday asking a federal judge to postpone Fumo's sentencing until Sept. 28.

Fumo, who was found guilty by a jury of 137 counts of conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice and related tax offenses on March 16, is to be sentenced on July 14. Prosecutors said in court papers that U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter should deny Fumo's "unreasonable" request.

Fumo's attorneys said they needed more time to respond to a draft pre-sentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office, file a sentencing memorandum with the court and adequately prepare for a sentencing hearing.

The report is 158 pages of single-spaced text, said Fumo lawyer Peter Goldberger. He added that the present schedule for sentencing does not provide sufficient time for Fumo to respond to all the factual and legal issues raised by the report. (Judges rely on the pre-sentence investigation report and other information to determine an appropriate sentence under advisory sentencing guidelines.)

Prosecutors Bob Zauzmer and John Pease said most of the report is a summary of trial evidence with which Fumo's lawyers are intimately familiar.

Prosecutors said Fumo could potentially face more than 21 years behind bars, based on the calculation by the probation office in its draft report.

Prosecutors say Fumo defrauded the state Senate, a South Philadelphia charity, Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods and the Independence Seaport Museum of more than $3.5 million.

Fumo's court filing also said the former state senator had recently hired Samuel J. Buffone, a prominent Washington, D.C. lawyer, to serve as co-counsel for sentencing and appellate purposes and that he needed additional time to prepare for sentencing.

Prosecutors said in their court filing that Fumo's "belated" decision to hire Buffone did not justify a delay in sentencing.

They noted that they had told Fumo's lawyers during a meeting last month that they would not agree to any postponement of sentencing if a new lawyer was hired.

Prosecutors suggested in their court filing that Fumo's request to postpone his sentencing had less to do with adequately preparing for sentencing and more to do with his desire to postpone punishment for his crimes. *