By J.D. Miles

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The man accused of trying to blow up a natural gas line in Plano was back in court today.

Anson Chi, a former computer engineer, argued for the right to withdraw the guilty plea he entered last year, and surprisingly the judge allowed him to do it.

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This hearing began with Chi, 35, firing his lawyers and then asking the judge if he could represent himself. Chi argued that his lawyers had acted unethically and gave him bad legal advice before he entered the guilty plea, where he admitted to trying to blow up at natural gas line on West Parker Road in Plano two years ago.

The defendant told the judge he wanted to withdraw the 20-year plea deal, risking a punishment of life in prison if he’s convicted. He also tried to convince the judge he could represent himself for these terrorism related charges, by pointing to his success representing himself in Plano traffic court. Both the judge and Chi’s former lawyers warned him he was making a mistake. But the judge granted the request and scheduled a pre-trial hearing for March.

Now that Chi is acting as his own attorney, he’s giving interesting insight into his case, claiming he confessed only because he was tortured by Plano police officers following his arrest. Chi has offered no proof to back up this claim.

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