Petters Heads To MN, Wants To Plead Guilty

Tom Petters is expected to travel to Minnesota from a Leavenworth, Kansas prison in order to make his case for a lighter sentence.
Petters Heads To MN, Wants To Plead Guilty

The new attorney for convicted Ponzi schemer Tom Petters has argued in court documents that Petters should receive a reduced prison sentence because he was not made aware of an earlier plea deal offer.

Now, Petters is returning to Minnesota to argue on his own behalf.

In May, Petters began pushing for a more lenient sentence, arguing that his former attorney, Jon Hopeman, never told him about a pretrial offer from prosecutors to cap his punishment at 30 years in exchange for a guilty plea. (Petters was sentenced in 2010 to 50 years in prison.)

In June, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marti fired back, claiming in court documents that Petters not only knew about a potential plea deal offer, but he also rejected it.

The following month, Petters’ new attorney, Steve Meshbesher, filed a motion requesting that a hearing be held on the matter. He again asserted that Petters maintains that the first time he heard of the potential 30-year cap was after his trial and conviction.

A recently filed court document shows that U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle granted Meshbesher’s request for a hearing, which has been scheduled for October 15 and 16.

Meshbesher told Twin Cities Business that Petters will travel to Minnesota from the Leavenworth, Kansas prison where he is currently serving his 50-year sentence, and Petters is expected to take the stand during the hearing. The judge will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny Petters’ request and uphold the 50-year sentence or to invalidate the sentence, allow Petters to plead guilty, and hand down a shorter sentence, he added.

Petters has long maintained his innocence, but Meshbesher said Petters would plead guilty in exchange for the lighter sentence, if granted the opportunity by a judge.