A Rapid City man who is awaiting sentencing for his role in a nearly $17 million medical laser scheme is making a last-minute attempt to withdraw his guilty pleas and dump his lawyer.
Larry Lytle filed a motion Tuesday to withdraw his pleas. Lytle wrote and attached an eight-page affidavit stuffed with claims and allegations, including ineffective assistance by his attorney and a lack of constitutional grounds for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate sales of Lytle's laser devices.
Lytle also pleaded for mercy.
“Judge Lange,” he wrote, addressing U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange, “in the event you deny my motion and proceed with sentencing, anything other than time served or house arrest will be a death sentence. I am 83 years old and have very tentative health.”
Lytle pleaded guilty in January to the crimes of contempt and conspiracy. He admitted that beginning in 2005 and continuing through 2015, at least $16.67 million worth of his laser devices were sold without scientific evidence of their effectiveness and without adequate clearance from the FDA. In marketing materials, Lytle claimed the devices could treat hundreds of medical conditions ranging in severity from headaches to AIDS.
After Lytle filed his motion Tuesday to withdraw his guilty pleas, his attorney, Ellery Grey, filed his own motion to withdraw from the case.
Grey’s motion said he is seeking to withdraw not only because of Lytle’s allegations of ineffective representation, but also because Grey now anticipates having to provide testimony in the case.
Federal prosecutors filed their response Wednesday and encouraged the judge to uphold Lytle's guilty pleas.
"As the Court is well aware, Lytle has pursued a far-reaching delay strategy in his efforts to avoid justice for his career of fraud," the prosecutors wrote.
Two of Lytle’s co-conspirators have also pleaded guilty, and all three are under supervised release from custody while they await sentencing.