A Minnesota man convicted in a deadly 2006 Toyota crash will soon learn whether he gets a new trial.
Koua Fong Lee is requesting a new trial in the wake of Toyota Corp.'s issues with sudden unintended acceleration in newer-model cars - even though Lee's 1996 Camry was never recalled.
Attorneys wrapped up closing arguments Thursday, and Judge Joanne Smith is expected to rule later Thursday on whether to grant Lee a new trial.
Earlier, Lee rejected a prosecutor's offer to vacate his sentence, saying he wants to prove his innocence.
Lee was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide after the crash, in which he hit three other cars stopped at a red light. He is serving an eight-year prison sentence.
Lee said in court that the deal, which would have made his conviction stand and banned him from driving for 10 years, wasn't good enough.
"During that time, I took my foot off the accelerator and put my foot on the brake. I did not lie about that," Lee said in court explaining why he rejected the deal.
Lee's attorney, Brent Schafer, questioned Lee about the proposed deal to make it part of the court record. That came after attorneys for both sides met with Ramsey County Judge Joanne Smith, delaying the hearing.
Lee was going between 70 and 90 mph during the crash on the Snelling Avenue exit ramp off of Interstate 94.
Not even his own attorney went along with his story that he had tried to brake until this year, when millions of Toyotas were recalled because of sudden acceleration problems.
His new attorneys have argued this week that Lee's car had a similar problem, even though Camrys from 1996 weren't a part of the recent recalls.
Witnesses with Camrys of the same vintage have testified about their experiences with sudden acceleration. And defense attorneys have also argued that Lee's original attorney botched his defense by not challenging authorities, who mistakenly concluded that Lee's car didn't have anti-lock brakes.
Authorities at the time also said the fact that there were no skid marks on the pavement indicated that Lee didn't brake. Lee's attorneys now say there were no skid marks because of the anti-lock brakes.
Lee's attorney, Bob Hilliard, also argued that Lee's attorney during the 2007 trial told the jury his client may have been mistaken about what pedal he was pushing in the car, despite the fact that Lee hasn't wavered in his claim that he tried to brake.
The original attorney, Tracy Eichhorn-Hicks, conceded in court on Wednesday that he and his client were saying two different things at the trial. But he said they didn't disagree about their defense strategy.
Eichhorn-Hicks said he didn't think a jury would believe a car could suddenly accelerate on its own, so he told jurors his client might have been mistaken.
"We were caught trying to sell to the jury that the car accelerated 20 or 30 miles an hour without any explanation," he said.
(MPR reporter Elizabeth Dunbar contributed to this report.)