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Former Islanders co-owner won't withdraw guilty plea, according to attorneys

Former New York Islanders executive Stephen Walsh leaves

Former New York Islanders executive Stephen Walsh leaves federal court in Manhattan on Oct. 29, 2014. Credit: Bryan Smith

Lawyers for former New York Islanders co-owner Stephen Walsh have informed U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum that he won't seek to withdraw his guilty plea to fraud charges, despite the 20-year sentence she said she would impose.

Walsh, 70, of Sands Point, and his lawyer were stunned last week when the judge imposed the maximum sentence for a $50 million investment fraud, and asked for time to consider revoking the guilty plea he entered earlier this year.

In a letter late Tuesday, defense lawyer Michael Tremonte said there was no point in withdrawing the plea because prosecutors refused to offer a "more favorable" deal capping Walsh's prison time, and he didn't want to go to trial.

Tremonte did ask for permission to make further arguments on the appropriate sentence. Walsh was hoping for between 18 and 24 months. Cedarbaum did not immediately rule on whether she would hear more arguments, or set a date for imposing sentencing.

Walsh was an Islanders executive and co-owner from 1991 to 2000. He and partner Paul Greenwood both pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in their WG Trading Co., using bogus promissory notes to cover $554 million in losses and diversions for personal use.

Walsh was accused of spending investor money on a divorce settlement and to help his children start businesses; Greenwood on horses and collectible stuffed animals. Walsh has contended that his investors, charities and other institutions, eventually recouped losses.

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