McAllister Files to Withdraw Plea, Hires New Attorney | Off Message

McAllister Files to Withdraw Plea, Hires New Attorney


Norm McAllister in court January 10, 2017 - FILE: POOL PHOTO/GREGORY J. LAMOUREUX/COUNTY COURIER
  • File: Pool Photo/Gregory J. Lamoureux/County Courier
  • Norm McAllister in court January 10, 2017
Former state senator Norm McAllister could be headed to trial after all.

In a motion filed Monday, McAllister sought to withdraw the plea agreement that he signed January 10 on the eve of his second trial for sexual assault.

According to the motion written by his new defense attorney Robert Katims, McAllister is innocent and his attorneys pressured him to sign the deal after a long day in court.

The motion, available below, requested a new trial date or an evidentiary hearing on the motion.

Katims declined comment Monday afternoon.

Franklin County State’s Attorney James Hughes did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The Burlington Free Press first reported on McAllister’s motion.

McAllister pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of prohibited acts related to an alleged sex-for-rent scheme. He also pleaded no contest to a felony lewd and lascivious charge, which had been amended down from sexual assault. The alleged victim in all three counts is a former farmhand and tenant who lived in a trailer on McAllister’s property.

Even under the reduced charges, he faced up to seven years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender.

State law allows defendants to back out of plea deals in certain cases, especially before sentencing. McAllister has not been sentenced and is out on bail.

During the January 10 hearing, Judge Martin Maley repeatedly asked McAllister if he understood and agreed to the plea deal, which came together on the eve of his trial and after a full day of jury selection. McAllister assented.

But by the next morning, McAllister had complained about the deal in the media and threatened to fire his attorneys, Brooks McArthur and David Williams of Burlington. Neither attorney responded to a request for comment Monday, nor did McAllister.

The motion is the latest turn in a legal saga that began in 2015 when authorities charged McAllister, a Republican, with six counts of sexual misconduct involving three women, shocking his Senate colleagues and his constituents.

He pleaded innocent to all six charges. Two charges involving one woman were dismissed last year during a trial. One of the other women died of natural causes last year and the state dropped that charge. 

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