ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist convicted of offering to help develop nuclear weapons for Venezuela cannot appeal his five-year sentence because he gave up that right, a federal court said.
In an opinion issued Monday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni had no grounds to fighting his sentencing because his plea deal called for no appeals.
Mascheroni, 79, argued in court papers that he had ineffective attorneys and he didn't fully understand his plea agreement. He wanted his sentencing tossed out.
But the court said Mascheroni was well aware of the agreement and a U.S. district judge made sure he understood all that was presented.
"Dr. Mascheroni, who has a Ph.D. and is a former scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear weapons division, signed the plea agreement, which stated that he freely and voluntarily entered his plea and that he had reviewed it with counsel," the federal appeals court wrote.
In January, Mascheroni was sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty.