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Associated Press, Published July 18 2012

Appeals court rejects argument by convicted ND bank robber

FARGO — An appeals court has rejected a complaint by a North Dakota man who says a federal prosecutor made improper arguments about the defendant's role in a bank robbery.

A jury last summer found Clifton Patterson guilty of aiding and abetting the use and carrying of a firearm during a crime of violence. The trial was held after Patterson and William Collins pleaded guilty to robbing a Gilby bank in May 2009.

The appeal accuses a prosecutor of essentially asking jurors if they could find any evidence of Patterson's innocence, when the defendant has no burden to prove anything. Patterson also says the government improperly attacked the integrity of his defense attorney.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and Patterson's sentence of life in prison without parole.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.