Man accused of $250m wine arson wants to change plea

$250m wine arson accused wants to change plea News Wine News http://decanter.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11150/000001410/0cde_orh194w150/mark-anderson.jpg http://decanter.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11150/000001410/b9f6/mark-anderson.jpg
  • Monday 7 March 2011

Mark Anderson, the former wine dealer who admitted destroying US$250m wine in an arson attack, wants to withdraw his guilty plea.

mark anderson

A hearing has been scheduled for 3 May in Sacramento federal court to determine whether Anderson will be allowed to plead not guilty and go to trial on 19 charges.

The October 2005 inferno, which in 2009 Anderson admitted to starting, caused an estimated US$250m worth of damage at the Wines Central warehouse in California.

The warehouse stored bottles for about 95 Napa Valley wineries and collectors.

Anderson, 61, is accused of starting the fire to cover up his fraudulent wine storage business.

According to his lawyer, Anderson pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges including arson and tax evasion in an agreement with prosecutors to help him avoid a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.

Anderson now claims he was coerced into accepting a plea deal.

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