Much credit goes to the creative defense lawyers of the U.S.A., in their never ending struggle to come up with a pioneering scheme that might spare their clients massive financial penalties, long prison sentences or in some cases, the electric chair.

We’ve been privvy to the Dimished Capacity Defence (aka The Twinky Defense, Dan White), the Rough Sex Defense (Robert Chambers) and of course, the classic She Should’ve Known I’d Try To Rape Her Defense (Mike Tyson). But until now, we’ve not been graced with a ploy nearly as briliant as the My Client Is A Legendary Underachiever. From the AP’s Larry O’Dell.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped three charges that Ralph Sampson lied about his finances to obtain free legal representation in a child support case. Sampson agreed to promptly pay the past-due support for two children from two different women in Virginia.

With that, Sampson — former NBA rookie of the year and four-time All-Star — became a felon, losing the right to vote among other civil rights, but avoiding the hard time in prison and hefty fines he could have faced had he gone to trial and been convicted on all counts.

Sampson’s attorney, James C. Roberts, urged the judge to consider Sampson’s volunteer work with children and schools. He also presented a stack of letters from Sampson’s supporters, including former Virginia coach Terry Holland.

In his letter, Holland spoke of Sampson’s “quiet demeanor and natural shyness” and his willingness to play a team-oriented game rather than attempt to dominate the game on his own. Sampson has taken the same approach in his daily life, Holland wrote.

“If Ralph Sampson has a flaw, it’s that he cannot please everyone or meet their expectations,” Holland said in an excerpt read in court by Roberts.