SANTA ANA (AP) — A federal appeals court overturned the conviction of a Southern California man accused of soliciting the murders and assaults of a federal judge, two prosecutors and two FBI agents.
The Orange County Register reported Saturday that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found last week that John Walthall was improperly denied the right to represent himself at trial.
Walthall was sentenced in 2016 to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said he targeted the judge, prosecutors and agents for their involvement in his 2009 conviction in a fraud scheme that duped an elderly couple out of $5.5 million.
Prosecutors say Walthall plotted to kidnap Judge Andrew Guilford and kill him by putting him through a wood chipper.
A new trial has not been set.