BRADENTON, Fla. - An emergency request seeking a receiver for Jefferson County, Ala.'s troubled sewer system should be denied because the bond insurers making the request have "manifestly unclean hands" and such a move would force the county into bankruptcy, Jefferson County attorneys said yesterday in documents filed in U.S. District Court.

In a three-count counterclaim seeking a jury trial, Jefferson County said the insurers were negligent due to their rating downgrades, because they breached their contracts with the county by failing to provide investment-grade insurance, and because they committed fraud and fraudulent suppression by failing to disclose risks associated with their own investment portfolios.

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