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Published May 08, 2012, 04:23 PM

ND Man Gets 7 Years for Drug Conspiracy

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota military veteran who says his involvement in a drug case was the result of post-traumatic stress disorder and other health problems was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison after reworking a plea agreement that originally called for 10 years.

By: Associated Press,

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota military veteran who says his involvement in a drug case was the result of post-traumatic stress disorder and other health problems was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison after reworking a plea agreement that originally called for 10 years.

Michael Jacobson was sentenced in June 2010 to a mandatory minimum 10-year term after pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a drug user. He began serving his sentence in a Minnesota prison in July 2010.

Jacobson, 58, later asked to have the sentence thrown out because his previous lawyer did a poor job of representing him. Jacobson said his plea was not voluntary and his cooperation with authorities was not properly considered.

A new plea deal was announced Tuesday, but Jacobson said he expected a better result.

"I feel like I'm not guilty because of my mental health status," Jacobson told a judge at Tuesday's re-sentencing hearing. "I had no intention to be in the dope business."

Jacobson has said in court documents that he became addicted to methamphetamine in 1972 and was treated in 1976, but relapsed after being prescribed narcotics for Hepatitis C, which he contracted in the Army.

A doctor sent a letter to the court saying Jacobson, a former helicopter crew chief, was diagnosed with PTSD in 1997. Court documents indicate he was stationed in Germany but don't say what may have triggered his PTSD.

The retired insurance salesman was among five people accused of selling methamphetamine in North Dakota and Minnesota.

At one point, Jacobson filed notice of an insanity defense because of PTSD and other health issues. But he instead opted to plead guilty after a judge told him that while his mental health issues were legitimate, it was unlikely he would succeed on an insanity claim.

His new attorney, Paul Myerchin, said Tuesday that his client has "helped and assisted" many people including military veterans, though he didn't provide details. Myerchin said he doesn't believe that Jacobson's health issues were given fair consideration in the new plea deal.

"He was hoping that the resolution would be somewhat less in this case," Myerchin said. "He reluctantly accepts it."


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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