By Thomas J. Sheeran
CLEVELAND — A man who pleaded guilty in the failed plot to bomb a highway bridge won a delay in his sentencing Wednesday so he can press for a more lenient treatment than his co-defendants.
The attorney for Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland, filed a request to change the guilty plea late Tuesday with U.S. District Judge David Dowd in Akron. The judge met with attorneys Wednesday and postponed sentencing until Nov. 30.
The plea change request was conditional on whether Hayne gets a more lenient sentence than his co-defendants.
His attorney said Hayne’s plea deal in return for cooperation could still mean a longer sentence than the eight- to 11-year terms handed down Tuesday to three co-defendants.
They pleaded guilty after Hayne but without plea deals promising cooperation.
The FBI said no one was ever in danger. The device was a dud provided by an FBI informant.
Hayne’s attorney, Michael O’Shea, said the plea deal called for his client to get a sentence one-half as long as his co-defendants.
Giving Hayne a longer sentence than promised would violate the spirit of the plea deal, O’Shea said. He argued in the motion that the three co-defendants pleaded guilty six weeks after Hayne in large measure because of his offer to testify against them.
Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland, said Wednesday there would be no comment on the sentencing issue.
The shortest of the three sentences handed down Tuesday by the judge was eight years and one month for Connor Stevens, 21, of Berea, described in court documents as less involved that the other two.
By that measure, O’Shea said Hayne should get half that sentence, or about four years in prison.
Sentencing calculations outlined last week showed Stevens was facing 15 to 19 years. The judge gave him less after hearing from Stevens and his family members and reviewing the presentence report on Stevens’ background and involvement in the plot.
The three sentenced Tuesday, including the alleged ring leader, plan to appeal their sentences. Their attorneys had argued for sentences in the five-year range.
The judge had refused earlier to delay Hayne’s sentencing as requested by his attorney, who wanted more time to review the other sentences.
A fifth co-defendant, Joshua Stafford, 23, who lived in Avon Lake in 2008, is undergoing a psychiatric exam at a federal prison outside Boston.