A plea deal in the works for a Greece man accused of threatening to kill former President George W. Bush may be in jeopardy.
Ian Rotunno, 24, on Tuesday told U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson that he wants a new attorney. Judge Payson told Rotunno to first talk with Assistant Federal Public Defender Mark D. Hosken, who has been representing Rotunno, and if he still felt the same way, to write her a letter with his request.
“I’m not going to feel any different,” Rotunno said.
“I’m telling you you’re going to talk to Mr. Hosken,” Judge Payson told Rotunno. “You need to talk to him and listen with an open mind.”
Rotunno is charged with expressing a threat to kill or harm a former president. He was arrested in October after telling a co-worker he was going to go home, grab his shotgun and head to Washington, D.C.
According to the complaint, Rotunno said he was going to discharge his shotgun into the reflecting pool in an attempt to be arrested or killed by police. He is also accused of saying if Bush was in the same room with him, he “would kill him with his bare hands.
“I know where to find President Bush at his ranch in Texas and I’m not going to stop,” Rotunno said, according to the complaint.
In U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester on Tuesday, Hosken and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley E. Tyler initially indicated a new plea bargain had been tentatively reached, awaiting approval by U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. They did not disclose details of the proposal, other than it is an alternate disposition to a previous plea negotiation that fell through.
Rotunno had appeared for detention and preliminary hearings that were not needed because of the pending plea agreement.
Judge Payson adjourned the matter to May 25 to give Rotunno time to review and possibly accept the proposal when Rotunno said he would like to discuss having someone else represent him and discuss the proposed plea deal with a new attorney.
Judge Payson told him to first raise his concerns with Hosken. She said she usually has defendants requesting new counsel talk with their current attorney first.
Rotunno is being held without bail.