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Man accused of having child porn asks to withdraw guilty plea, his lawyer resigns

CAVALIER, N.D.--A Cavalier man's lawyer has resigned after his defendant, who is charged with possessing images and videos children in sexual acts, said he wants to back out of a plea agreement.

CAVALIER, N.D.-A Cavalier man's lawyer has resigned after his defendant, who is charged with possessing images and videos children in sexual acts, said he wants to back out of a plea agreement.

Douglas L. Swanson, 60, was charged in 2012 in Pembina County District Court with 17 counts of unlawful possession of images of sexual conduct by a minor. Swanson faces a maximum of five years in prison and $10,000 for each of the Class C felonies.

In an amended complaint in 2013, when the charges were increased to 60 counts of unlawful possession of images of sexual conduct by a minor, Swanson was accused of having 58 images and two videos showing children engaged in sexual conduct, according to a court complaint.

On Jan. 19, Swanson signed a plea agreement in which the prosecution agreed to dismiss 50 of the 60 counts, with Swanson agreeing to plead guilty to 10 counts.

For those 10 guilty pleas, Swanson would serve 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised probation, according to the plea agreement.

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The plea deal stated Swanson had "ample time to review this matter with my attorney, David Dusek, who has explained to me the charges ... and I understand these terms."

But Swanson submitted a letter to the court in February, asking to withdraw his guilty pleas. He said the case had "taken its toll on my reasoning process." Therefore, Swanson said what led to his guilty plea was "forgetting the word 'not' (in front of the word 'guilty') plus my attorney coaching me to 'say yes, say yes' over and over again" when he entered the plea agreement, Swanson claimed in letter.

Dusek then withdrew as Swanson's attorney in March. Dusek said he reviewed the plea deal with Swanson, and the court decided "the plea was voluntarily made," according to court documents.

But in light of Swanson's letter, Dusek said it was "in the best interest in this case that new counsel be appointed to represent" Swanson because of an "irretrievable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship which would make it impossible to continue to represent" Swanson.

Swanson has a hearing scheduled at 10 a.m. April 12 in Pembina County District Court.

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