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Guilty of Bad Publicity

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Now that the allegations against balloon-chasing Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, who publicly noted the Heene family was under the scrutiny of child-welfare investigators, has been roundly rejected, the focus has turned back on the parents, who allegedly collaborated in the grand hoax last month that grabbed the world’s attention for one wild and dramatic day. Richard and Mayumi Heene are prepared to plead guilty tomorrow to charges stemming from the alleged publicity stunt (via CNN). Richard Heene will plead guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, according to a statement from defense attorney David Lane (via the Fort Collins Coloradoan). Mayumi Heene will plead guilty to false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor. Both parents are stipulated to receive probation, rather than time in jail. Lane points out that Mayumi is a citizen of Japan, and a conviction would result in her deportation: “It is supremely ironic that law enforcement has expressed such grave concern on the welfare of the children, but it was ultimately the threat of taking the children’s mother from the family and deporting her to Japan which fueled this deal.”

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