GRAND FORKS-A  Grand Forks defense attorney accused of conspiring to murder a police informant now faces much lesser charges, according to records provided by his defense team.

Henry Howe, 72, is charged with conspiring to tamper with a witness, as are his co-defendants Wesley Wayne Smith and Howe’s client Paul Francis Lysengen. The murder conspiracy charges have been dropped for all.

Howe’s attorney, David Thompson of Grand Forks, said it was because the source of the information used to incriminate Howe and the other two has a long history of lying to police.

Walsh County prosecutor Barbara Whelan didn’t return a call for comment. But Thompson provided the Herald with the amended charges against Howe.

Conspiring to commit murder is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole while conspiring to tamper with a witness is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Howe’s license to practice law has been suspended since Jan. 31, the day after the original criminal complaint against him was filed.

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Source: Grand Forks Herald, “Murder conspiracy charges dropped against Grand Forks lawyer Henry Howe” Anna Burleson, April 23, 2014.