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Petraeus will plead guilty to sharing classified data, avoid courtroom trial

Petraeus will plead guilty to sharing classified data, avoid courtroom trial

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Former CIA Director David Petraeus has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors who have long accused the retired military leader of sharing classified secrets during an extramarital affair. The New York Times is reporting that Petraeus has agreed to a guilty plea for a single count of "unauthorized removal of classified material," a charge that could imprison the four-star general for at most one year. Petraeus has signed a statement acknowledging that he provided false statements to the FBI about leaking classified data, according to Politico.

The move is a reversal for Petraeus, who — based on previous reports — was steadfast in his refusal to accept any deal with the Justice Department. In doing so, he avoids a trial that all but certainly would have revealed new, painful details on the affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, who was writing a biography on Petraeus at the time.

There won't be any high-profile trial

The FBI reportedly stumbled into discovering Petraeus' affair after investigating cyberstalking complaints from Jill Kelley, who received harassing emails warning her to stay away from Petraeus. Those messages were linked to Broadwell, and upon further scrutiny, the FBI made its case that Petraeus — who headed the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — had shared classified information with her. The two communicated using the drafts folder of Petraeus' personal Gmail account. Both the FBI and Justice Department were still recommending felony charges against Petraeus recently, but the announced plea deal dismisses any possibility of a public trial for the highly-decorated Army general, who resigned from the CIA just after President Obama's 2012 reelection.