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Peru man seeks to withdraw plea in quarrel with elderly neighbors

A Peru man charged with shoving his elderly neighbor, causing a minor injury, wants to withdraw his guilty plea and will make his case at a Jan. 20 hearing.

Michael E. Stuart, 45, entered a blind plea Oct. 14 to one count of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony carrying 2-5 years in prison, but also with the possibility of some combination of probation, jail time and/or community service. Two companion charges were dismissed as part of the plea.

Friday, however, Stuart’s new lawyer, Yorkville attorney Kelley Cook, asked for a hearing on a pending motion to withdraw the guilty plea. The motion on file with the La Salle County Circuit Clerk’s Office did not spell out the grounds for vacating the plea.

Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia scheduled a Jan. 20 hearing on Cook’s motion and, over the objection of the state’s attorney’s office, canceled a Feb. 3 sentencing hearing she’d previously scheduled.

Stuart was charged in summer 2019 after the release of a video of him quarreling with, and appearing to shove, his neighbors. The video went viral.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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