ST. PAUL, Minn. - Tom Petters admitted his guilt in a fraud scheme that he is serving a 50-year prison sentence for at a hearing in St. Paul Wednesday.
Petters is asking Judge Richard Kyle to have his current sentence reduced based on the claim that his previous lawyer did not inform him about a sentence that carries a maximum of 30 years.
Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, Petters broke down when talking to Judge Kyle. "I'm begging for your forgiveness today. I lost my way big time."
Petters apologized to Judge Kyle for lying in his courtroom in 2009. He told the judge he did not want to go to trial.
"This is my chance to come to this court and clear my conscience," Petters told the judge.
Petters is trying to have his sentence reduced to 30 years. He is contending that his trial lawyers in 2009 never told him of a plea deal from the government with a 30 year limit.
His lawyers took the stand Wednesday afternoon and denied his claims. The lawyers' own attorney, Chris Madel, scoffed at Petters' claims.
"Do perjurors have an credibility?" said Madel. "I mean, the definition of perjury is that you are willing to lie under oath. He admitted that today."
Petters' present attorney, Steve Meshbesher, defended his client.
"He is very weak, psychologically and psychiatrically," said Meshbesher. "He is completely beat up. He has been in prison for 4 or 5 years."
Judge Richard Kyle told attorneys to submit written arguments on November 5th. He will rule after that.
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