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South Central District Judge John Grinsteiner, right, accepts the change of plea to guilty by Brady Blotske for gross sexual imposition and felonious restraint at a sentencing hearing at the Burleigh County Courthouse in Bismarck on Wednesday. The hearing was conducted via ITV monitor with Blotske seated, far left, at the McLean County Courthouse in Washburn.

After his appeal's success last year, an Underwood man reached a plea deal in a rape case that includes lesser charges and a lesser sentence than initially imposed.

Under the plea agreement with McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson, 37-year-old Brady Blotske pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony counts of felonious restraint and gross sexual imposition — the latter of which had been amended to a lesser offense. Erickson also withdrew felony terrorizing from the charges.

At Erickson's recommendation, South Central District Judge John Grinsteiner sentenced Blotske to serve eight years in state prison with credit for 627 days, followed by 10 years supervised probation and no contact with the female victim or her child. 

Blotske must register as a sex offender. Grinsteiner also waived his fees. 

Blotske did not speak beyond yes or no answers during Wednesday's change of plea hearing. Grinsteiner presided over the hearing from Bismarck, with defense and prosecuting attorneys appearing via interactive television from Washburn.

Blotske was charged in May 2015 for allegedly tying up, raping and threatening the woman with a gun.

He went to trial in June 2016, when a jury convicted him of GSI, felonious restraint and terrorizing. Grinsteiner sentenced him in September 2016 to 20 years in prison followed by five years supervised probation.

Blotske successfully appealed based on a portion of an interview video that jurors were not supposed to see but did. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed the judgment and remanded the case, ordering a new trial that had been set for next week.

In September after the high court's ruling, Blotske was released on bond with electronic monitoring.

Erickson said in court he is still coming to grips with the remanded case.

"I could not explain why the Supreme Court reversed it," he said. "I couldn't explain it to the victim what happened, and I just don't know how they came up with that."

In its unanimous opinion last fall, the North Dakota Supreme Court found that Grinsteiner erred in denying Blotske's request for a mistrial based on prejudicial statements the jury viewed from the video.

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Crime and Courts Reporter