Plano Man Allowed to Withdraw Plea in Pipeline Blast

A Texas man who pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline with a homemade bomb in a Dallas suburb last year was allowed to withdraw that plea Wednesday.

At a hearing in federal court Wednesday, Anson Chi fired his attorneys and told the judge he will represent himself. Chi filed paperwork to withdraw his guilty plea.

The 34-year-old Plano man had pleaded guilty June 3 to maliciously attempting to destroy an Atmos Energy natural gas pipeline in Plano. That plea could have put him in federal prison without the possibility for parole for 22 years.

Chi also pleaded guilty to possessing an explosive device not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. A third charge was dropped in exchange for the plea deal.

Chi says he feels he received "faulty legal advice" from his lawyers and was a victim of misrepresentation of counsel, charges his former attorneys deny.

Chi also told federal judge Richard Schell that his confession in 2012 was "forced" by Plano police.  He added that he only signed the plea deal because, he says, his lawyers led him to believe he was facing life in prison

According to the Dallas Morning News, Schell granted the motion. Another hearing is scheduled for April 7.

With all three counts against him, not pleading guilty, Chi faces at least 60 years behind bars if he’s found guilty.

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