PORTLAND — An Auburn man was convicted in federal court earlier this week — for a third time — for having a gun while prohibited.

Willie Minor of Auburn appears in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn in 2019 when he was acquitted by a jury on state charges of sexual assault, sex trafficking and assault. His conviction on a federal gun charge was recently overturned. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file photo

Willie R. Minor, 63, was convicted Tuesday by a jury in U.S. District Court on a charge of possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

That crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

No sentencing date has been set.

William Maselli, Minor’s attorney, said his client plans to appeal.

Minor was convicted in federal court in 2017 for possessing a gun after having pleaded guilty in 2010 in state court to a misdemeanor assault charge involving his then-wife.


Minor appealed that conviction.

While the case was pending on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that changed what the government is required to prove in certain federal firearm possession cases. The parties in this case agreed to have the original conviction vacated and the case retried.

Minor was convicted in federal court again in 2020 after a two-day trial on the same charge.

At that trial, because of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, prosecutors had been required to prove not only that Minor had been convicted of assaulting his then-wife, but also that he knew he had been convicted of that crime and had been aware of certain details of the conviction.

Prosecutors had argued at trial that Minor possessed a .38-caliber pistol after he had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence assault.

During a 2016 interview with Auburn police, Minor had admitted he’d had a gun and told police he’d kept it in his apartment. Police later searched his apartment after getting a warrant and found the gun Minor had described, according to federal prosecutors.


An opinion by a panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said that prosecutors were required to prove at trial not only that Minor knew he had a gun, but that “he knew he belonged to the relevant category of persons barred from possessing a firearm.”

The circuit court panel vacated Minor’s conviction because “the jury was allowed to convict (him) of knowingly violating (the law) without finding that he knew that his assault conviction placed him in the category of persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”

Prosecutors appealed the circuit court panel’s order to the entire circuit court, which found in favor of the government, ruling that prosecutors didn’t have to prove at trial that Minor knew his 2010 assault conviction had put him in a category of offenders who were prohibited from having a gun.

That ruling did vacate Minor’s conviction though, which led to the third trial.

At the end of the trial, Maselli asked for an acquittal, arguing prosecutors hadn’t met their burden of proof for a conviction.

The judge denied that motion.

Maselli also sought a mistrial, noting that during the trial, prosecutors had flashed a photograph of Minor’s bruised then-wife. Maselli said the photograph was prejudicial.

The judge denied that motion.

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