Criminal Justice

Murder conspiracy case against lawyer is considerably downgraded; his counsel calls for dismissal

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Earlier this year, a longtime North Dakota criminal defense attorney had his law license suspended on an emergency basis after he was charged, along with two others, with plotting to kill an undercover informant in a drug case.

Now the original murder conspiracy charge against all three defendants has been downgraded to witness tampering conspiracy, according to the Associated Press and Grand Forks Herald. The maximum penalty, if convicted, for murder conspiracy is life without parole, while those convicted of witness tampering can get no more than five years.

A lawyer representing attorney Henry Howe says the case should be dismissed entirely, because it is based on claims made by a man with a lengthy criminal history who has repeatedly engaged in deception. He also criticized the prosecution for not investigating more fully before bringing the case.

“When you decide to get into bed with this guy who comes to you with a bizarre tale that is completely untrue and is something he has done before on multiple occasions, why do you believe this guy, based on the record he has of deception, of theft?” attorney David Thompson wondered aloud.

He also told the Herald that “We had to do the vetting of this guy that should have been done before they attempted to ruin the career and life of a lawyer who was doing his job.”

Walsh County prosecutor Barbara Whelan didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

See also: “Longtime defense attorney charged in murder conspiracy, has license suspended on emergency basis”

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