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Leonard Francis can't find a lawyer in wake of failed escape, delays sentencing

Leonard Francis appears in a San Diego federal courtroom in this sketch from Jan. 4, 2024.
Krentz Johnson
Leonard Francis appears in a San Diego federal courtroom in this sketch from Jan. 4, 2024.

Leonard Glenn Francis asked a San Diego federal judge Wednesday to give him three more months to hire a new lawyer ahead of a sentencing hearing that's been delayed almost nine years.

In 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to bribing scores of Navy officers with cash, prostitutes and opulent parties in the western Pacific ports his husbanding company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, controlled.

Hundreds of Navy officers, including dozens of admirals, were investigated after Francis' arrest in 2013.


Many pleaded guilty and never went to trial. Some were tried in the military courts while most faced administrative action from the service.

Francis fled house arrest in September 2022, just weeks before he was set to be sentenced in the case. He'd been allowed to live in a rented upscale San Diego home since 2018 as part of a court-approved medical furlough.

He was arrested a couple weeks later in Venezuela.

In December, he was returned to the U.S. in a prisoner swap. At a hearing in San Diego Jan. 4, his longtime attorneys told Sammartino they'd agreed with Francis to step away from the case.

He's been looking for new lawyers since. At another hearing Feb. 8, Francis told Sammartino he'd struggled to find new counsel from the federal jail downtown. She gave him 45 days.


Wednesday, Francis again told her he's been unsuccessful in finding a new lawyer and asked for three more months to do so.

Sammartino told Francis she was willing to give him those three months because it's his right to choose his own counsel.

She ordered Francis' former attorneys — who were not in court Wednesday but are still listed as representing him on the court docket — to appear with Francis at a hearing in two weeks.

Francis is due back in court March 29.

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