Former CIA Director David Petraeus had two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine handed down in court after pleading guilty to a federal count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. The charge stemmed from an extramarital affair with his biographer to whom he had given the classified material while she was working on his book, according the the Associated Press.
His plea agreement could have yielded up to a year in prison. Judge David Keesler increased the fine from the prosecutors’ recommended two years’ probation and $40,000 to “reflect the seriousness of the offense.” He said Petraeus committed a “grave and uncharacteristic error in judgement.”
In a brief statement before his sentencing, Petraeus apologized “for the pain my actions have caused.”
According to ABC News, Petraeus’ attorney Jake Sussman said the case was not about the public dissemination of classified information, but the wrongful removal of materials. But prosecutor James Melendres said “This is a serious criminal offense. He was entrusted with the nation’s most classified secrets. The defendant betrayed that trust.” In addition, Meledres says Petraeus compounded that trust by lying to the FBI.
Petraeus is ready to move on after what marks the end of a two-and-a-half year ordeal. “I now look forward to moving on to the next phase of my life” he said as he was leaving.
“There’s a double standard,” said Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who defends government employees and military members in national security cases. He said Petraeus’ punishment was lighter than what others in similar cases have received. He believes the government was attempting to avoid trying such a high-profile official when they struck the deal.
“It would have been a political quagmire.” he said.
The agreement was filed in a Charlotte NC federal court where Paula Broadwell, the biographer in question lives with her family. Petraeus’ affair with Broadwell ruined his reputation. Petraeus is a retired four-star general who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As part of his plea agreement, Petraeus agreed not to contest the facts laid out by the government.