The plea agreement carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison and represents another blow to the reputation of the retired four-star Army general who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and was perhaps the most admired military leader of his generation.
Petraeus, 62, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. The agreement was filed in federal court Tuesday in Charlotte, where Paula Broadwell, the general’s biographer and former mistress, lives with her husband and children.
In court papers, prosecutors recommended two years of probation and a $40,000 fine. But the judge who hears the plea is not bound by that and could still impose a prison sentence. No immediate date was set for Petraeus to enter the plea.
As part of the deal, Petraeus agreed not to contest the set of facts laid out by the government.
Prosecutors said that while Broadwell was writing her book in Washington in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time as the top military commander in Afghanistan. Days later, he took the binders back to his house.
Among the secret materials contained in the “black books” was information on identities of covert operatives, the coalition war strategy and notes about Petraeus’ discussions with President Barack Obama and the National Security Council, prosecutors said.
Those binders were later seized by the FBI in a search of Petraeus’ Arlington, Virginia, home, where he had kept them in the unlocked drawer of a desk in a ground-floor study.