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Tag: plea deal

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: U.S. Should Offer Snowden Deal to Come Home

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Editorial Board
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

The European Parliament has urged its member states to embrace American fugitive Edward Snowden as a “whistle-blower and international human rights defender.” The former National Security Agency contractor remains in Russia, and the Justice Department has ignored his public entreaties for a plea deal that would allow him to return to the United States and face charges.

Alternately hailed as a hero and traitor, Mr. Snowden has said he is willing to go to jail in order to return home. The United States should offer him a deal. As other countries move to protect him, the Justice Department looks vindictive in its refusal to negotiate, and Mr. Snowden’s status as a heroic figure grows the longer he remains on foreign soil, tweeting about privacy abuses.

Mr. Snowden fled to Hong Kong in 2013, before the United States charged him with theft and espionage for releasing millions of classified documents about government surveillance. Now living in Russia, he has amassed 1.6 million followers on Twitter, appeared live via video at conferences and posed for the cover of Wired magazine wrapped in an American flag.

In March, Mr. Snowden’s attorney said his client wants to come home if he can be assured of a fair trial. Although former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder hinted in July of a “resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with,” none has been forthcoming, and a spokesman for the National Security Council said after the European Parliament vote that “our position has not changed” on the felony charges Mr. Snowden faces.

Other Stories of Interest

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI

Dennis Hastert

Dennis Hastert

By Steve Neavling

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert could spend six months or more in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago to lying to the FBI.

The Associated Press reports that Hastert struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors, who agreed to recommend he serve no more than six months in prison.

But a judge could still go beyond the plea agreement and send the Illinois Republican to prison for up to five years.

The plea deal also meant prosecutors would drop a banking violation charge.

Hastert was accused of handing $100,000 to an anonymous person to keep past misconduct quiet.

Former Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to More than Four Years for Gun Smuggling

Steve Neavling

A former Border Patrol agent was sentenced in El Paso, Tex.  to 51 months in prison for his role in buying guns to be smuggled into Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

The sentence was part of a plea deal in which Ricardo Montalvo agreed to plead guilty to recruiting others as straw buyers of guns in exchange for having 19 counts dropped, the AP reported.

The 29-year-old former agent was accused of buying nine weapons, more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines for assault rifles.


Blago Says He Never Considered a Plea Deal; Appears a Little Nervous About Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel

With just days to go before his retrial, ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich is still speaking his mind. No surprise.

The chatty ex-Gov. told the Associated Press Saturday he never considered a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The retrial is set to begin Wednesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.

“There will never ever, ever, ever be me admitting to things that are false and not true,” he said. “I acted honestly, with my heart in the right place, with honest intention.”

Blago was convicted the first time of 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI.

Still, with all his talk, he appeared a little nervous.

“I hate to admit it,” he told the AP. “But the truth is there is always an element of fear that if things don’t go as they should, the consequences are not something to look forward to.”

Blago Begins Round 2: Has No Intention to Seek Plea

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