- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 24, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota man sentenced to seven years in prison on an illegal weapons charge has lost his appeal.

A federal jury in June 2014 convicted Brian Sweeney, of Minot, on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Sweeney was stopped by police for a traffic violation in October 2013, at which time authorities found a .380-caliber handgun in the vehicle.

Sweeney argued in his appeal that his trial rights were violated because he was not allowed to represent himself.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that while Sweeney asked to represent himself, he repeatedly told a judge he was incapable of handling his own defense. The circuit court says Sweeney made the request because he was unhappy with his court-appointed lawyer.

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