Pierce O'Donnell Accepts Plea Deal in John Edwards Contributions Case

Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:49pm EST

Pierce O'Donnell, the lawyer who represented Art Buchwald against Paramount Pictures in the case that exposed studio accounting practices, has accepted a plea deal for illegally contributing to John Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign.

Under the agreement between O'Donnell and federal prosecutors, O'Donnell will receive 60 days in prison, a year of supervised release, 500 hours of community service, plus a $20,000 fine.

Also read: John Edwards Indicted; What Does it Mean for Sorkin's "The Politician"?

The agreement still needs to be approved by U.S. District Judge S. Otero. In November, Otero shot down a previous plea agreement, saying that the recommended six-month prison sentence was excessive.

O'Donnell was indicted in 2007 and charged with arranging "conduit contributions" to John Edwards' presidential campaign. O'Donnell was accused of working with an unnamed co-conspirator to solicit contributions for Edwards from employees from O'Donnell's law firm, with the promise to reimburse them for the contributions. In all, O'Donnell and his co-conspirator raised $26,000 in conduit contributions, according to the grand jury's indictment.

O'Donnell represented Buchwald in a high-profile 1990 case that alleged that Paramount Pictures stole his script idea and turned it into the 1988 movie "Coming to America." Buchwald won the lawsuit and was awarded damages. Paramout settled with Buchwald rather than appeal.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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