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Archive for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sentence dispute in KU ticket scheme is heard

March 12, 2013

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— A former Kansas University athletic consultant convicted in a $2 million ticket scalping conspiracy deserves a more lenient sentence based on conflicting provisions in his plea deal, his new attorney argued Monday.

Thomas Blubaugh was sentenced in 2011 to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through wire fraud, tax obstruction and interstate transportation of stolen property. A federal prosecutor Monday denied any conflicted existed in the deal.

The legal sparring came in an evidentiary hearing called to determine whether Blubaugh’s former attorney, Stephen Robison, did a poor job defending him.

U.S. District Judge Monti Belot wanted Robison to testify after Blubaugh claimed ineffective counsel in court filings and during a January hearing on the issue. Belot did not immediately rule after hearing Robison’s testimony.

At the crux of the dispute is seemingly contradictory wording in the plea agreement. One portion indicates prosecutors agreed to file a motion seeking a lower sentence for “substantial assistance” already given, while a separate section in the same document states that such cooperation was at the government’s discretion and such cooperation had not yet been given.

Blubaugh’s new defense attorney, Jim Pratt, argued that Robison failed to raise the issue of the ambiguity in the plea agreement. He contended the plea deal’s inconsistency alone is enough for Belot to order the government to file a motion indicating Blubaugh provided substantial assistance, a legal move that in effect gives the court greater discretion to shorten a sentence.

“What Robison did, or didn’t do, is irrelevant to that argument,” Belot said.

The judge told Pratt that he faced an “uphill battle” in proving Robison provided ineffective counsel, based on the testimony he heard.

Typically when the court rules an attorney did a poor job in advising his client, the defendant is allowed to withdraw any guilty plea and a trial is set. But in this case, Blubaugh told the judge he doesn’t want to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. He just wants a shorter sentence.

Robison told the judge that he advised his client at the time he entered the plea deal that he believed the agreement was that he had not yet provided enough cooperation to earn a motion for substantial assistance from prosecutors.

Robison testified it was his impression that Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway and case agents were “underwhelmed” with the information his client initially provided investigators but that he had expected further meetings with prosecutors.

Robison also acknowledged under questioning by Hathaway that Blubaugh told agents he only sold $200,000 worth of stolen tickets to an Oklahoma broker, when in fact the actual figure was more than $800,000. Robison said he had advised Blubaugh to cooperate fully with the government and not to underestimate his role in the conspiracy.

“Frankly, Tom didn’t do that. He underestimated,” Robison said. “But I am not the one who pays the price.”

Comments

Bob Forer 1 year, 6 months ago

Big difference between 200K and 800K. The guy is a a common thief. Let him do his time.

5

Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

"“substantial assistance” already given, while a separate section in the same document states that such cooperation was at the government’s discretion and such cooperation had not yet been given."

Did he help hang some partners yet not all of his partners?

1

jlzack 1 year, 6 months ago

You do the crime, you do the time.....

1

dontpeeltheonion 1 year, 6 months ago

"Typically when the court rules an attorney did a poor job in advising his client, the defendant is allowed to withdraw any guilty plea and a trial is set. But in this case, Blubaugh told the judge he doesn’t want to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. He just wants a shorter sentence."

Ha, I'm sure that is your preference. I am also sure there are a number of people that would prefer you just shut up and do your time Tom.

As I recall, you were a consultant for the athletic department for two years, being paid a salary of something like $116,000. Oh wait a minute, while it is true you were on salary for two years ( that's two years of checks being made out to Tom Blubaugh by KU Athletics ) nobody in the department, including our AD, even knew you were on the payroll or could even say what consulting services you were providing, huhh??? So many unanswered and unexplained questions as to how that possibly could have occurred ??? So many unfollowed-up leads and associations.

New trial?? No, no, I think that might cause a few sleepless nights for some of our finest citizens in this town. I would advise you just shut up an do your time Tom. I am sure your silence will be rewarded at some point. Be a good soldier. ( Please pass along my warmest regards to your wife as well, I miss her cheerful personality )

2

Kent Noble 1 year, 6 months ago

Due your time it's only 46 months. Your already half way through your sentence. When your invovled in ticket scandals this is the price you pay. There was no one complaining when the money was rolling in! I gaurantee there were outside others involved in these scandals they just didn't get caught.

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Mark Currie 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't see any difference between him and common thief. I think he is probably arrogant enough to believe he is better than the people he serves with. Guess what a thief is a thief, and to the tune of 800K at that. What a guy.

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