Could plea deal be in the works for former mayor Cannon? - | WBTV Charlotte

Could plea deal be in the works for former mayor Cannon?


Defense attorney Monroe Whitesides has handled his share of federal clients.

In the case of former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, Whiteside's says Cannon's defense lawyers may seek what is known as a Bill of Information.

Patrick Cannon resigned his position as Charlotte mayor on Wednesday night, nearly eight hours after he was arrested by the FBI on charges of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.

"In light of the charges that have been brought against me, it is my judgment that the pendency of these charges will create too much of a distraction for the business of the City to go forward smoothly and without interruption," the Democrat Cannon said in a statement on Wednesday night.

"Usually with a bill of information, the defense lawyer has already tendered to the prosecutor what his client will plead guilty to," he said.


Defense Attorney Noel Tin would not talk about the specifics of the Cannon case, but says a bill of information generally keeps things out of the hands of a grand jury.

"A bill of information is a way for the parties to come to an agreement for a case that's not going trial," he said. "A jury trial does involve an awful lot of openness that a Bill of information plea may preclude."

It could mean that Cannon's case may never make it to a grand jury, but Whitesides contends that the government was deliberate in its strategy of what could stick.

"You see small amounts of money at the first [in the affidavit]," he said. "They call it seed money and it gradually gets bigger and bigger up to $20,000 in the briefcase, and once you have 20-grand in a brief case it's game over."

Whitesides said that one strategy that Cannon could use is that he was the victim of entrapment. But when it comes to the Bill of Information, deals are cut before cases are presented to a grand jury.

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