On Tuesday, after 12 months of politely but pointedly remaining totally silent and unresponsive in court, Petion resumed speaking to judges: He apparently decided it was in his best interest to accept a plea agreement offer from the prosecution.
“Guilty,” Petion said when U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg asked him how he wanted to plead to two federal drug-trafficking and weapons charges.
Prosecutors said they will recommend 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in August, but the final decision on his punishment lies with the judge. The maximum possible penalty is life in prison.
He remained imprisoned the whole time and only succeeded in delaying progress in his case for 12 months.
Earlier this month, Petion finally resumed speaking to his attorney after two in-depth mental health evaluations showed that there was nothing physically or mentally wrong with Petion and that he was legally competent for the case to proceed. The experts said he was faking mental illness.
After he was determined to be mentally competent, prosecutors made a plea offer and said they were considering filing a more serious charge, with a harsher punishment, if he planned to go to trial.
Meantime, we still have no U.S. Attorney. As far as I know, all of the finalists are still being considered. I imagine that we will have our nominee by the end of the month. It will be interesting to see if the nominee will accept the position and work for a Trump/Sessions administration.