Did Nevada Attorney General Catherine Masto's office overstep legal boundaries, committing misconduct in their pursuit of mortgage servicers?

That's the question raised by a story at the Nevada Journal that details the criminal prosecution by the state AG's office of two title officers at Lender Processing Services (LPS), in an ongoing robo-signing lawsuit.

Defense attorneys for the two LPS defendants claim that the state AG covered up a conflict of interest involving former Nevada chief deputy attorney general John Kelleher, the original lead prosecutor in the case.

From the story:

Many of the model rules of ethical conduct adopted by the American Bar Association and, subsequently, by the Nevada Supreme Court as the rules of professional conduct for Nevada attorneys appear to have been violated by both Kelleher and Masto.

The Journal links to a copy of the court filing, which argues that prosecutor Kelleher had a "serious, undisclosed, disabling conflict of interest" -- he'd received a Notice of Default on his primary residence in September 2011, identifying LPS as the document processor.

Masto's office became the first state AG's office to file criminal robo-signing charges in November 2011.

Kelleher's own mortgage default and engagement with LPS personally were never disclosed to the court, the filing claims. The court filing also argues that Masto's office was aware of the conflict and sought to cover it up both before and after removing him from the case in March of 2012. Kelleher resigned from the AG's office in April.

Kelleher has maintained in a separate media report that he was the target of a private "deal" cut by Masto's office during the multi-state robosigning settlement, a claim Masto has denied.

Read the full story at the Nevada Journal.