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ND man accused of having sexual images of children asks to withdraw guilty plea

CAVALIER, N.D. - A Cavalier man's lawyer has resigned after his defendant, who is charged with possessing images and videos children in sexual acts, said he wants to back out of a plea agreement.Douglas L. Swanson, 60, was charged in 2013 in Pemb...

CAVALIER, N.D. – A Cavalier man's lawyer has resigned after his defendant, who is charged with possessing images and videos children in sexual acts, said he wants to back out of a plea agreement.

Douglas L. Swanson, 60, was charged in 2013 in Pembina County District Court with 60 counts of unlawful possession of images of sexual conduct by a minor, Swanson was accused of having 58 images and two videos showing children engaged in sexual conduct, according to a court complaint.

On Jan. 19, Swanson signed a plea agreement in which the prosecution agreed to dismiss 50 of the 60 counts, with Swanson agreeing to plead guilty to 10 counts.

For those 10 guilty pleas, Swanson would serve 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised probation, according to the plea agreement. But Swanson submitted a letter to the court in February, asking to withdraw his guilty pleas. He said the case had "taken its toll on my reasoning process." He said his attorney David Dusek encouraged him to “say yes, say yes' over and over again" when he entered the plea agreement, Swanson claimed in the letter.

Dusek then withdrew as Swanson's attorney in March. Dusek said he reviewed the plea deal with Swanson, and the court decided "the plea was voluntarily made," according to court documents.

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But in light of Swanson's letter, Dusek said it was "in the best interest in this case that new counsel be appointed to represent" Swanson because of an "irretrievable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship which would make it impossible to continue to represent" Swanson.

The next hearing is April 12.

Related Topics: CRIME
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