Conyers appeals to withdraw guilty plea

Oct. 19, 2010 at 1:17 PM

DETROIT, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Former Detroit councilwoman Monica Conyers is appealing to have her guilty plea in a city bribery scandal withdrawn, her lawyer said.

In an appeal filed with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorney Douglas Mullkoff argued a lower federal court wrongfully denied his client the opportunity to withdraw the guilty plea that put her in prison, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

Conyers, serving a 37-month sentence for taking bribes in exchange for her vote on a city contract deal, has been attempting to take back her guilty plea since her sentencing in March, the newspaper said.

In the appeal, Mullkoff argued Conyers pleaded guilty to bribery because she was unable to resist pressure from her lawyer, the government and the news media, The Detroit News reported.

Despite having a law degree and marrying U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, she was inexperienced with the criminal justice system, the appeal says.

"That inexperience coupled with the intense public scrutiny of the matter caused her to momentarily surrender to the pressure to plead," Mullkoff wrote in the appeal brief.

Conyers is serving her sentence at a minimum-security prison in Alderson, W.Va.

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