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Tom Petters claims 'ineffective assistance of counsel,' seeks shorter sentence

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A new attorney for convicted former Minneapolis businessman Tom Petters filed a motion in federal court Friday to get Petters' 50-year fraud sentence thrown out, claiming "ineffective assistance of counsel," KSTP reports.

Friday's motion, filed by Steven Meshbesher, maintains Petters' old counsel, Jon Hopeman, "provided constitutionally deficient counsel when he failed to communicate a plea offer to Defendant Petters prior to trial."

The plea offer, Meshbesher claims, would have called for a 30-year prison term, a sentence 40 percent shorter than the one Petters was sentenced to after being conviction in a multi-billion fraud case in December 2009.

The 11-page memorandum also claims the sentence Petters received is "unconstitutionally cruel and unusual insofar as it is disproportionate to the crimes of conviction."

The U.S. Attorney's Office had no comment on Friday's filing.

The 55-year-old Petters is currently serving out his sentence at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.

In 2012, Petters asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case after lower court threw out his appeal, but that request was denied.

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