BILLINGS - Carbon County Attorney Robert Eddleman and co-defendant Terri Kurth both change their plea in federal court Wednesday.
Eddleman walked into the federal courthouse with his attorney but left in handcuffs. After pleading not guilty late last year, Eddleman and his co-conspirator, Terri Kurth, changed their pleas to guilty on federal drug charges in exchange for a plea deal.
"I've got an obligation to charge the most readily provable offense and I've got an obligation to get a plea to it. Those are national standards we have at the Justice Department," said U.S. District Attorney of Montana Bill Mercer.
Under the plea agreement Eddelman and Kurth admitted to hosting drug parties at homes in Red Lodge and Billings where they provided and allowed people to use cocaine. Court documents say during the 4-year long investigation authorities also searched Kurth and a male while in her car where they discovered tubes used for snorting cocaine. The tubes later tested positive for cocaine.
Mercer was surprised when Eddleman's name popped up in the investigation. "Most drug investigations it's unclear in the beginning where the trail is going to lead," said Mercer. Mercer doesn't want to rule out more drug charges against other people in Carbon County, but for now the attention is focused on Eddleman and Kurth who face 20 years in prison, $500,000 dollars in fines and three years supervised release.
Eddlemans plea deal also called for him to step down from his post as Carbon County Attorney. The Carbon County Commissioners say they'll approve his resignation Thursday. Sentencing is set for June 17 for Eddleman and Kurth.