A transcript of former CEO Tom Petters speaking to associate Robert White hours before his arrest has been released. The call, taped by the FBI, was used to keep Petters in jail while the prosecution built their case because he was too likely to flee.
Watch the KSTP report here:
Be sure to listen to Mark Albert's impersonation of Petters' voice. At one point it sounds like Petters came straight out of "Clueless". Like doggone!
Here is an excerpt of the 20-minute conversation from KSTP:
In fact, the FBI was listening in as Petters talks about which countries have no extradition treaties with the United States, getting a fake driver's license, and how his girlfriend reacted to his idea to flee.
Before his arrest, the FBI told White to call Petters, and on Oct. 1, federal agents were able to listen in.
PETTERS: "You don't know how I wish I hadn't given up my passport." PETTERS: "you know, they're not going to give either one of us a deal." WHITE: "I’m scared as could be, Tom." WHITE: "It’s hard to just take off with a boat…you got to do some preparations and it costs...it's not like driving to the cabin."
Both men then talked about how their families would handle a life on the run.
Petters said his girlfriend, Tracy, and mother of their two children, told him "as long as we have our kids, we can do anything. We can start over and do anything." "She can have a new life," Petters told White.
But White says his wife, Robyn, told him she refused to take their children and run.
Petters also brags that he has practiced hiding out, doing it for several weeks in 1990 after being charged in Colorado with fraud, forgery, and larceny.
Those charges were later dropped.
WCCO's Esme Murphy says Petters is being cornered into an increasingly tough place to escape:
From the prosecution standpoint, the four guilty pleas are a swift and potentially devastating blow to Petters defense. According to my sources, Petters plans to vigorously argue his innocence.
I interviewed Hamline University Law Professor Joe Daly about the prosecution strategy and what options the defense has. Daly told me that Petters is in a very difficult, if not impossible, legal position.
"Its fairly clear that the prosecutors are using a classic method were they are taking the lower rung people and boxing in the person who is at the center of it so he can't escape," Daly said.