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A federal judge has endorsed a broad interpretation of a savings-and-loan era law that the Justice Department is trying to use in cases against Wall Street banks. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said Monday that a "straightforward application of the plain words" of the Financial Institutional Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) allowed the interpretation sought by the government. The law has a low burden of proof, strong subpoena power and a 10-year statute of limitations, twice as long as the typical limit for fraud cases.