Convicted Ponzi schemer Tom Petters will be in federal court Wednesday morning in St. Paul, hoping to lop 20 years off his 50-year prison sentence.
In 2009, Petters was convicted of orchestrating a multibillion dollar fraud. During the trial, he took the stand and proclaimed his innocence. Now, Petters is ready to plead guilty — if he can get a plea deal for 30 years in prison that he says his attorneys kept from him.
"The odds of him succeeding are extremely low," said Ted Sampsell-Jones a criminal law professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. Attacking your own defense attorneys as ineffective is a common last-ditch legal tactic, he added.
Such claims are very hard to win. Petters would need to show there was a formal offer made by the prosecution, that his lawyers failed to tell him about it and that he would have accepted it had he known. He'd also need to show the trial judge would probably have accepted the plea deal.
Federal prosecutors say there was some discussion but no formal offer of a plea bargain, and that Petters rejected the overture.