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Former USC football player is sorry that he ‘lashed out’ at lawyers after plea

Owen Hanson
Owen Hanson pleaded guilty to charges of leading an illegal sports gambling and drug-smuggling ring.
(KTLA)

A day after former USC football player Owen Hanson pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court to running an overseas gambling operation and a drug-trafficking network, he told a magazine editor that he had been tricked.

Hanson, 34, said he was the victim of a “bait and switch” and that he was prepared to withdraw the plea, according to a Jan. 11 story by VICE Sports, which had been corresponding with him from jail.

“The new plea they made me sign in court yesterday will not stand, they added a mandatory minimum I never agreed to — and was pressured to sign it without reviewing with my family,” Hanson wrote. “It was a travesty of justice, protocol and trust.”

On Tuesday, Hanson did an about-face, apologizing for his comments and reiterating that his plea was “voluntary and intentional.”

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“In anger, frustration and fear I lashed out” at the lawyers through the news media, he told U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin.

When asked whether he was certain he didn’t want to withdraw the plea, Hanson replied, “I stand by it 100%.”

He faces at least 20 years in prison and has agreed to forfeit $5 million and property paid for with the illicit profits.

kristina.davis@sduniontribune.com

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Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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