A federal grand jury has been secretly probing whether attorney Pierce O'Donnell violated federal campaign laws by asking employees of his law firm to contribute to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards and reimbursing them, Scott Glover reports in the L.A. Times. Part of the story is that O'Donnell's side is suggesting he's being targeted by the feds for being an outspoken Democrat. Here are the stakes, per Glover:
O'Donnell, 61, has indicated that he is willing to plead to a misdemeanor charge and pay a large fine, but prosecutors in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles have been insisting that any deal would require him to plead guilty to a felony, which would end his legal career in California, according to several sources who asked not to be named.
O'Donnell pleaded no contest earlier to the same kind of political money laundering in the Jim Hahn campaign for mayor in 2001.
* Update: O'Donnell was indicted today and put up a statement in response on his website.
Edited post to correct Gold to Glover