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Published March 23 2012

Prosecutors won't fight plea withdrawal sought by doctor accused of raping, drugging wife

FARGO – Prosecutors will not contest a Fargo doctor’s request to withdraw guilty pleas in a case that involves allegations the doctor drugged and raped his wife last summer.

Jon Norberg entered Alford pleas in Cass County District Court in January to charges of Class C felony reckless endangerment and Class B misdemeanor sexual assault, the latter having been reduced from the Class AA felony gross sexual imposition charge Norberg initially faced.

An Alford plea doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges a jury would likely convict based on the evidence.

Documents filed with the court accuse Norberg of giving his wife the anesthetic Propofol and raping her.

In filing his motion to ask that he be allowed to withdraw the pleas, Norberg maintained he was innocent of the charges. He also said he had learned the pleas could adversely affect his pending divorce case, even though he had been advised earlier by a defense attorney that the Alford pleas would not affect the civil case.

Reid Brady, one of two assistant Cass County state’s attorney handling the case, said based on the information contained in the defense motion prosecutors will not object to Norberg’s request.

A motion hearing in the case is set for April 5.