Dana Wilson seeks to withdraw plea to child pornography charge, go to trial

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 31, 2013, at 6:27 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Former Maine Sports Hall of Famer and local DJ Dana Wilson is seeking to withdraw his no contest plea to a child pornography possession charge and instead go to trial, his attorney said Thursday.

Wilson, 63, of Brewer is scheduled to be sentenced Friday afternoon at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor filed the motion late Thursday afternoon.

Tzovarras said that Wilson wanted to take the action “because he is innocent of the offense and believes he did not fully understand the state’s burden [of proof], potential issues for defense, and consequences of a no contest plea.”

No contest pleas result in convictions.

Wilson was represented by a different lawyer when he entered his plea in May.

Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said his office would oppose the motion.

“We are absolutely opposed to this motion,” Almy said Thursday. “This is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the judicial process and avoid taking responsibility.”

On May 23, Wilson pleaded no contest to one count of possession of sexually explicit material, a Class C crime, as his jury-waived trial was about to begin.

If Justice William Anderson were to grant Wilson’s motion, it would be the third time in about four months that his sentencing has been continued. Originally set for July, it was pushed into August so Wilson’s mental health counselor could attend.

On Aug. 19, the day before he was to be sentenced, Wilson fired his previous attorney Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor. Silverstein said he was dismissed in an email but was given no reasons by his client.

Anderson appointed Tzovarras to represent Wilson on Aug. 20 and, last month, set the sentencing for Nov. 4. It was rescheduled earlier this week for Friday.

In response to a question from Anderson the last time the ex-Hall of Famer appeared before the judge, Wilson said that he did not want to withdraw his plea.

Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, who is prosecuting the case, said in August that he would recommend the judge sentence Wilson to between two and a half and three years in prison with all but between six and nine months suspended. Roberts also said he would urge the judge to impose two years of probation.

Silverstein said in August that he had planned to urge Anderson to sentence Wilson to probation but not jail time. Tzovarras was expected to do the same before filing the motion.

Wilson visited child pornography websites but did not download, share or chat about videos or photographs of children engaged in sexually explicit activity, Silverstein said in July.

Monitoring of child pornography sites by law enforcement officials outside Maine led to an Internet address belonging to Wilson in February 2011, according to a previously published report. He was indicted by a Penobscot County grand jury in June 2012.

Wilson was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012 for his basketball feats at Bangor’s Husson College, where he graduated in 1974. That honor was revoked May 29, 2013, by the hall’s board of directors, according to a previously published report.

He remains free on $1,000 unsecured bail with conditions that include having no contact with children under the age of 16.

Wilson, who has no prior criminal record, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the charge.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/31/news/bangor/dana-wilson-seeks-to-withdraw-plea-to-child-pornography-charges-go-to-trial/ printed on April 23, 2014