"Barefoot Bandit" plea deal expected soon: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 9:03 AM
"Barefoot Bandit" plea deal expected soon: lawyer

SEATTLE (Reuters) - An accused serial thief dubbed the "Barefoot Bandit" pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a newly filed burglary charge, but a plea deal with prosecutors on all six counts he faces in federal court appears imminent, his lawyer said.

Colton Harris-Moore, 20, suspected in a two-year spree of sometimes-shoeless crimes across nine U.S. states, British Columbia and the Bahamas, entered his plea during a five-minute arraignment appearance before a magistrate judge in Seattle.

His defense attorney, John Henry Browne, told reporters afterward that a plea deal on the overall federal case could be finalized later on Thursday, but would not be made public for about a week.

He told Reuters hours later that a final draft of a plea agreement was "on the table" and ready for review over the next week.

Browne said reaching a deal has been complicated in part by the question of whether Harris-Moore, a high school dropout and self-taught pilot, should be permitted to sell and profit from the rights to his life story.

The federal indictment against him stipulates that if convicted, Harris-Moore must turn over proceeds from "any and all intellectual property or other proprietary rights" to pay about $1.4 million in restitution.

Harris-Moore has been indicted on a total of six federal charges, including interstate transportation of a stolen plane, boat and a gun, as well as being a fugitive in possession of a firearm and flying a plane without a pilot's license. The latest charge stemmed from the burglary of an automated teller machine.

He faces dozens more charges in Washington state court.

(Reporting by Laura Myers; Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune)