Petters to Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
Former businessman Tom Petters-who's behind bars for orchestrating a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme that left hundreds of victims in its wake-is appealing his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Pioneer Press.
The appeal follows two previous appeals to lower courts. In December, a three-judge 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld Petters' conviction and 50-year prison sentence-concluding that he received a fair trial. Petters' attorneys then asked that the full 8th Circuit Court revisit the case, but on Friday, it too threw out his appeal.
“He intends to vindicate himself and I intend to help him do that,” Jon Hopeman, Petters' defense attorney, told the Pioneer Press Friday afternoon. “He will never give up.”
Through Petters' original appeal, his defense argued that U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle prevented his attorneys from presenting a complete defense by cutting short the cross-examination of Larry Reynolds. Reynolds is a convicted felon and disbarred lawyer who was in the witness protection program, and Petters' attorneys claimed that they weren't able to fully question him about his links to organized crime, according to the Associated Press.
Hopeman told the Pioneer Press that the appeal to the Supreme Court will focus on Reynolds' testimony and perhaps one or two other issues.
Regarding the full 8th Circuit Court's decision from Friday, Hopeman told the St. Paul newspaper, “You don't get very far asking a court to review its own mistake.”
Petters was convicted in December 2009 on 20 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering after a month-long trial and five days of jury deliberations. His sentence was handed down in 2010.