Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ex-hijacker rolls the dice

Ex-hijacker William Potts agreed Thursday to plead guilty to kidnapping as part of a plea bargain with the government. In exchange, prosecutors will dismiss an indictment charging Potts with air piracy.
As part of the deal, Potts acknowledged that the judge still may sentence him for up to life in prison for hijacking a plane to Cuba in 1984 (See facts of case).
U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum may also fine Potts as much as $10,000 and disregard that he spent more than 13 years in a Cuban prison for the hijacking.
Sentencing was set for 10:30 a.m. July 11 in Fort Lauderdale.

The plea agreement is below:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 85-CR-00748-CR-RSR(s)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WILLIAM POTTS, JR.,
a/Wa "William Freeman,"
a/Wa "Lt. Spartacus,"
Defendant.

PLEA AGREEMENT

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida ("this Office") and William Potts, Jr., a/Wa "William Freeman," a/k/a "Lt. Spartacus," (hereinafter referred to as
the "defendant") enter into the following agreement:

1. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to the superseding information which charges the defendant with kidnapping in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 120 1 (a)(3) (1 984).
2. If defendant's plea of guilty is accepted, at the time of sentencing the government will move to dismiss the indictment which charges the defendant with one count of aircraft piracy, in violation of Title 49, United States Code, Section 1472(i)(1984).
3. The defendant understands and acknowledges that the Court may impose a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to life. In addition to a term of imprisonment, the Court may impose a fine of up to $10,000.

4. The defendant also understands that the calculation of any term of imprisonment imposed by the Court for the offense described in paragraph 1 will not include credit for any term of imprisonment the defendant previously served in Cuba. However, nothing in this agreement shall prevent the defendant from asking the Court, at the time of sentencing, to consider any previous term of imprisonment served by the defendant in Cuba as a factor in determining the particular sentence to be imposed in this case.
5. The defendant understands and acknowledges that the Court has the authority to impose any sentence within and up to the statutory maximum authorized by law for the offense identified in paragraph 1 and that the defendant may not withdraw the plea solely as a result of the sentence imposed.
6. This Office reserves the right to inform the Court and the probation office of all facts pertinent to the sentencing process, including all relevant information concerning the offenses committed, whether charged or not, as well as concerning the defendant and the defendant's background. This Office further reserves the right to make any recommendation as to the quality and quantity of punishment.
7. The defendant is aware that the sentence has not yet been determined by the Court. The defendant also is aware that any estimate of the probable sentence that the defendant may receive, whether that estimate comes from the defendant's attorney, this Office, or the probation office, is a prediction, not a promise, and is not binding on this Office, the probation office or the
Court. The defendant understands and acknowledges, as previously acknowledged in paragraph 5 above, that the defendant may not withdraw his plea based upon the Court's decision not to accept a sentencing recommendation made by the defendant, this Office, or a recommendation made jointly by the defendant and this Office.
8. The defendant agrees to waive any defenses he may have under the applicable statute of limitations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 3282. By signing this agreement, the defendant acknowledges that he has discussed this waiver and its consequences fully with his attorney and that he understands the nature and consequences of the waiver.
9. This is the entire agreement and understanding between this Office and the defendant. There are no other agreements, promises, representations, or understandings.

WIFREDO A. FERRER
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
Date: May 1, 2013

WILLIAM POTTS, JR. DEFENDANT

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