Tom Noe intends to change his not-guilty plea in connection with three federal charges that he illegally funneled money into the reelection campaign of President Bush, according to court records released today.
Mr. Noe had pleaded not guilty to the charges in October. He faced a maximum of 15 years in federal prison if convicted of all charges. Authorities, however, said a lighter sentence was more likely.
It is not clear what the new plea will be. According to a status report filed today, proseuctors and attorneys for Mr. Noe have asked the court to set a hearing date as soon as possible for the change in plea.
Federal prosecutors have alleged that Mr. Noe gave more than $45,000 to 24 people to contribute to the Bush-Cheney campaign in October, 2003.
Several of the alleged conduits include current and former elected officials, including Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber and Toledo City Councilman Betty Shultz.
At the time of his indictment, prosecuctors said the Noe case represented the largest campaign money-laundering scheme prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department since 2002, when Congress enacted new campaign finance laws.
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