Tom Petters, Still Fighting, Taps “Jailhouse Lawyer”

Tom Petters is reportedly trying to get his argument for a new sentence before a different judge; the last judge accused Petters of trying to pull “one final con.”

Despite the fact that his appeals have been rejected by multiple courts and, most recently, a federal judge denied his plea for a lesser prison sentence, convicted Ponzi schemer Tom Petters is still looking for an avenue to reduce his time in prison.

Petters, who in 2010 received a 50-year sentence for orchestrating a $3.65 billion fraud scheme, appealed to the 8th Circuit Court, which rejected his attempt. And the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently denied a request to review his conviction.

Petters then began arguing that he should receive a reduced prison sentence because he was not made aware of an earlier plea deal offer. He argued 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.

In late 2013, Petters returned to Minnesota to argue his case. For the first time, he admitted guilt.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle, however, not only dismissed Petters claims but used colorful language in doing so. Among other things, he called Petters’ testimony “deliberate, measured, and calculated,” adding that Petters was trying “to pull off one final con.”

But Petters still isn’t silenced. Late last week, he filed motions in federal court to have Judge Kyle removed from his case, and to alter Kyle's order that denied Petters’ attempt to reduce his sentence, according to the Pioneer Press.

Petters filed the motions himself with help from John Gregory Lambros, another inmate who is serving time for an international cocaine distribution ring and whom Petters called a “jailhouse lawyer,” the St. Paul newspaper reported. (Attorney Steve Meshbesher, who represented Petters during the October hearing before Kyle, had reportedly said previously that he wouldn’t be involved with trying to remove Kyle.)

In his filing, Petters reportedly claims that Kyle’s decision repeats false information, and that his former attorneys lied to the court. Petters is trying to get his case in front of a new judge, although a clerk for Kyle told the Pioneer Press that it’s uncertain who would review Petters’ most recent filing. Read more here.