Sunday, February 8, 2004

Conner asks to withdraw her plea

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - Just days before her sentencing on a federal mail-fraud charge, Tina Conner has filed a motion seeking to withdraw her guilty plea.

The ex-mistress of former Gov. Paul Patton filed the motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Lexington, where she is scheduled to appear for sentencing at 10 a.m. Monday.

Conner argues in the motion that her former attorney, Thomas Clay, failed to mount an aggressive defense. She also claims that just before pleading guilty, she discovered he wasn't familiar with all the documents in her case.

Her new lawyer, Patrick Nash, declined to comment on his client's reasons for seeking to withdraw the plea. He said he expected the request to be discussed at Monday's hearing before Judge Joseph Hood.

Clay could not be reached for comment. He had withdrawn from the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor said he was notified about the motion but couldn't comment on it.

Conner's Oct. 2 guilty plea stemmed from her application for a state Transportation Cabinet program designed to help construction firms owned by women and minorities. The classification would have allowed her new construction company, actually operated by her former husband, to get special consideration for public contracts.

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