In 2010, 39-year-old Tracy Mixon watched the father of her two young children -- Tom Petters -- get sent to prison for 50 years for running a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme from the Twin Cities. She was evicted from her $640,000 Plymouth home by the receiver rounding up Petters' assets and lost privileges to a Lincoln SUV. Then in September, a federal judge overseeing the remnants of the estate cut off the $1,879 monthly stipend she'd been getting since his 2008 arrest.

Until recently, Mixon appeared to be on the mend. She got a job at a coin dealership in downtown Minneapolis. Then she got married over Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas to the man who ran the coin company, Michael Duff McNamara III, 58, of St. Louis Park.

The honeymoon apparently didn't last long.

Mixon called police Sept. 9 alleging that McNamara, in a drunken rage, had assaulted her with a knife, choked her repeatedly and threatened her and her children. McNamara was charged in Hennepin County District Court with making terroristic threats and domestic strangulation, both felonies. His bail was set Monday at $30,000.

McNamara's attorney, Thomas Shiah, denied in court filings that the alleged assault took place. He's seeking to dismiss the charges. If the case goes to trial as scheduled Jan. 7, Shiah wrote, McNamara will claim self-defense.

McNamara predicted Wednesday that the case would be dropped. "It's a misunderstanding. That's all I'm going to say," he said.

Mixon could not be reached for comment.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said via a spokesman that nothing has caused him to reconsider; he expects the case to go to trial.

According to a criminal complaint filed by St. Louis Park police officer Aaron Balvin, Mixon alleged that McNamara had been drinking and attacked her when she tried to take his car keys. He stabbed some beer cans with a knife, then began walking toward her, with the blade pointed up. Mixon backed away, and when he began yelling at her, she moved to their bedroom to try to hide the keys.

McNamara allegedly pushed her against the wall, onto a desk and then onto the floor. The complaint says he straddled her, choked her with his forearm to the point where she couldn't breathe for about 10 seconds, then let her up. He knocked her down again, using his right hand to squeeze her throat until she again was unable to breathe, the complaint says.

Mixon told police that McNamara told her: "You're done! I'll find you and kill you. I'll strangle your kids!" Then, she said, he fled the residence.

Mixon's and Petters' children are 5 and 7 years old. She also has a 12-year-old from a previous marriage.

McNamara has been convicted of check forgery, possessing counterfeit checks, theft and driving under the influence. In a 2011 interview about ex-cons selling gold and silver coins from Twin Cities boiler rooms, he noted that he'd been through a drug rehabilitation program and said that he'd turned his life around. "I'm in recovery. I've got three years clean," he said at the time.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493