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Convicted medical marijuana provider reaches settlement

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 18 2012 09:18:32 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 18 2012 10:42:45 PM MST
Chris Williams

Photo Courtesy Free Chris Williams Facebook Page

BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Former medical marijuana provider Chris Williams, who's facing decades in prison, reached a compromise with the courts to drop some charges and dramatically lower his minimum sentence.

The federal government raided Chris Williams' cannabis facility in 2011 and convicted him. He refused plea deals, but on Tuesday Williams signed off on a post-trial compromise.

Kari Boiter, the founder of the Free Chris Williams campaign said instead of facing a minimum of 92 years in prison, Williams may only serve 5 years for two of the eight original charges.

In the settlement he signed, six gun and drug charges will be dismissed in exchange for withdrawing Williams' appeal for a new trial.

As far as the two other charges- he'll face Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (Count III) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count VI).

Count III carries a maximum five-year sentence, Count VI a minimum 5 years with maximum life in prison.

Boiter said Williams is hoping the judge shows mercy and limits the sentence to five years.

She also said part of the deal includes dropping a $1.7 criminal judgement.

This is the second post-trial compromise he's been offered- the first one called for a minimum 10-year sentence with liability for the $1.7 million.

Williams refused to sign, but Boiter said this time around, he agreed.

"Looking at a 92-year possible mandatory minimum, I think five years for Chris was much more manageable" Boiter said. "That appeal could have taken him years of being in prison even if he was successful. So this is a finite end to all of this."

"It was not easy for me to give up my Constitutional fight" Williams stated in a press release. "With the rest of my life literally hanging in the balance, I simply could not withstand the pressure any longer. If Judge Christensen shows mercy and limits my sentence to the 5-year mandatory minimum, I could be present at my 16-year-old son's college graduation. This would most likely be impossible had I rejected the latest compromise."

NBC Montana recently reported how he gained national attention when a White House petition for his pardon surpassed the minimum number of signatures required for a response by President Obama. The president hasn't written a response yet.

Williams is currently being held in the Missoula County Detention Center. He's set to be sentenced in early January.