Woods was not pressured to accept plea deal: prosecutor

Woods was not pressured to accept plea deal: prosecutor

CORNWALL, Ontario – The prosecutor in the Mickey Woods smuggling case said the Cornwall man who now faces life in prison had an opportunity for an earlier release, but turned it down.

Carl Eurenius said in an interview with Seaway News Thursday Woods could have received 20 years, and perhaps as little as 17 years, had he chosen to plead guilty.

With time served the prosecutor said he could have been out in a little more than 10 years, had he chosen to plead guilty and accept the plea deal.

Instead he got life, and now Woods’ family is suggesting that the Cornwall man who played a huge role in a $47-million international smuggling operation was pressured to “rat” on others in order to receive a lighter sentence.

Eurenius is having none of it.

“That’s 100 per cent false,” he said.

Eurenius went on to point out that the judge in the case actually stopped the proceedings at one point and ordered the jury out of the room while the plea offerings were read into the record.

Both Woods and Gaetan Dinelle, another Cornwall man facing a similar fate in the case, were asked if they understood the plea offerings.

“The actual plea offers were put on the record,” said Eurenius. “The pleas were not dependent on co-operation.

“There’s no way that would have been misunderstood.”

In fact Eurenius suggested many of those who may have been implicated in any co-operation by Woods or Dinelle had already admitted their role or been otherwise corralled by law enforcement.

“Defendants in these situations who take their chances at trial come up with all kinds of suggestions,” said Eurenius, pointing to accusations made by Woods’ family that because he would not co-operate he is being made an example of.

Woods’ sentence also covers a charge of operating a continuing criminal enterprise, which comes with it an automatic life sentence.

Eurenius said unlike the Canadian legal system, a life sentence in the U.S. in this case means exactly that – there will be no release unless Woods finds some kind of solace via the appellate system.

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