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Tom Petters to return to Minnesota to push for reduced sentence

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Convicted Wayzata businessman Tom Petters is returning to Minnesota this fall to argue for a reduced sentence in his Ponzi scheme case, Twin Cities Business reports.

Petters is currently serving a 50-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after being convicted in 2010.

Steve Meshbesher filed a brief last month with U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle, arguing that Petters deserves a hearing because he was not told about an offer for a 30-year sentence until after his conviction.

According to a recent court filing, Kyle granted Meshbesher's request.

The attorney first filed a motion on behalf of Petters in May, claiming his client's previous attorney, Jon Hopeman, "provided constitutionally deficient counsel when he failed to communicate a plea offer to Defendant Petters prior to trial."

Prosecutors claim that Petters was aware of the offer and had rejected it several times.

Meshbesher told Twin Cities Business that Petters will travel to the hearing, set for Oct. 15 and 16, and is expected to testify.

In the hearing, Meshbesher said, the judge will determine if there's enough evidence to uphold the 50-year sentence, or invalidate it. If it's the latter, Petters would plead guilty and the judge will hand down a shorter sentence.

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