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Federal Appeals Court Hears Petters Case

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(credit: Hennepin County Jail)

(credit: Hennepin County Jail)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A federal appeals court heard arguments Thursday on whether former Minnesota businessman, Tom Petters, deserves a new trial after being convicted of orchestrating a $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme.

The case was heard before a three-judge panel in the 8th Circuit of Appeals in St. Paul.

Petters’ attorney argued that his conviction should be overturned because the defense team was unable to fully question Larry Reynolds who pleaded guilty in the case.

Attorney Jon Hopeman argued that it was Reynolds who was the real mastermind behind the fraud.

They said they wanted to delve deeper into the criminal past of Reynolds, who has a lengthy criminal record and was at one time placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program.

Petters’ attorneys said they were prevented from presenting their full defense to the jury in his 2009 trial where he was convicted on 20 counts of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

Petters is now serving a 50-year sentence at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan. His attorneys are hoping to reduce that time.

There is no deadline for the Appeals Court to rule.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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