Ex-NY state sen. loses bid to withdraw plea

(AP) - A federal judge has rejected former New Yorkstate Sen. Efrain Gonzalez Jr.'s effort to withdraw his guilty pleato federal fraud charges.

Judge William Pauley said today that Gonzalez's attempt tochange his plea was an effort to undermine the integrity of thejudicial process.

The Manhattan judge said the notion that the free will of alongtime state senator was overridden by the imminence of trial,coercion by his attorney or pressure from the court was"preposterous."

Gonzalez is accused of using charity groups to finance hislifestyle with $600,000 in stolen money. The 61-year-old Bronx Democrat could receive seven to nine yearsin prison when he's sentenced May 14.

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