David Petraeus reaches plea deal with Justice Department to avoid trial.

Petraeus Reaches Plea Deal With Justice Department, Avoids Trial

Petraeus Reaches Plea Deal With Justice Department, Avoids Trial

The Slatest
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March 3 2015 12:53 PM

Petraeus Reaches Plea Deal With Justice Department, Avoids Trial

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Petraeus completes his fall from grace.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Tuesday the Justice Department announced that General David Petraeus had accepted a remarkably lenient plea deal that will ensure the retired four-star general does not face a highly public and humiliating trial. Prosecutors allege that Petraeus, while serving as director of the CIA, illegally gave his mistress access to classified information. That mistress, of course, was Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’ biographer.

As part of the deal, Patraeus will plead guilty to a single count of “unlawfully and knowingly” removing classified material and storing it at “unauthorized” locations—a criminal charge that carries up to one year in jail time. Had his case gone to trial, Patraeus would have likely faced a harsher charge and a more stringent punishment. A federal judge will now decide whether Patraeus must go to prison or whether he can simply serve probation. 

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Despite the drama that has swirled around Patraeus for the last few years, the former CIA director has done remarkably well for himself since leaving the government. Patraeus is currently a partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a massive private equity firm, and has taught classes—for an immense paycheck—at several renowned universities. Broadwell has maintained a lower profile, encouraging residents of her adopted hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina, to live healthy and active lifestyles. 

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.