Wife of Manuel Noriega Expected to Agree to Plea Bargain in Button Theft
MIAMI (AP) _ The wife of the jailed ex-leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega, will accept a plea bargain to keep her out of jail for high-fashion button theft, a source close to her defense confirmed Wednesday.
Prosecutor Anne Lyons said Tuesday she was told Felicidad Noriega will accept the deal offered by the Dade County state attorney’s office. The defense source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of the agreeement, ″Yes, that’s correct.″
Mrs. Noriega’s lawyer, Leon Tozo, was out of town Wednesday and unavailable for comment.
Mrs. Noriega was charged with criminal mischief and petty theft for allegedly stealing 27 buttons worth $305 from women’s jackets at a department store in a suburban mall.
A hidden videotape that recorded her clipping buttons was released Wednesday.
Under the plea bargain, the charges would be dropped but Mrs. Noriega would pay the store $1,321 for damage to the jackets, perform community service and promise not to sue the store for holding her on shoplifting charges.
She is still set for trial Monday with co-defendant Rosa Busto before Dade Circuit Judge Arthur Rothenberg.
A conviction on the charges could bring up to five years in prison.
Her husband, convicted in April on drug and racketeering charges, faces up to 120 years in prison at sentencing July 10.