Richard and Mayumi Heene, the parents of Balloon Boy, will plead guilty on Friday to certain charges stemming from their Oct. 15 hoax, their lawyer announced in a statement Thursday.
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Richard Heene will plead guilty to a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant, while Mayumi Heene will plead guilty to false reporting, a misdemeanor, attorney David Lane said.Though the Heenes could still receive jail time, the plea deal stipulates a probation sentence for both charges and avoids heavier charges against Mayumi Heene, which could lead to deportation to her native Japan.
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"Upon reviewing the evidence, arguably, Mayumi could have possibly ended up being deported and Richard could have proceeded to trial and had a good chance at an acquittal," the statement read. "This, however, would have put the family at grave risk of seeing a loving, caring, compassionate wife and mother ripped from the family and deported. That was not an acceptable risk, thus these pleas."
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TVGuide.com's calls to Colorado's Larimer County's D.A. office were not immediately returned.Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden previously suggested charges that carried a six-year maximum jail sentence for each parent and a $500,000 fine.
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The Heenes initially told authorities their 6-year-old son, Falcon
, was trapped inside a helium balloon that took off in the Colorado skies. The boy was found safe at home and suspicions were raised after Falcon told his father on a live TV interview that they "did this for a show." While Mayumi Heene later told authorities the whole saga was faked to make the family, who's appeared on Wife Swap
, more marketable, Richard Heene has publicly maintained that the ordeal was not staged.
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Lane said Richard Heene's guilty plea is not an admission of guilt."Unfortunately, the prosecutors insisted upon a package deal where Richard would have to fall on his sword and take a felony plea despite the fact that he made no incriminating statements to law enforcement and Mayumi's statements could not be used against him."