Plea Entered By Former Luzerne County Official

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WILKES-BARRE -- A former county official accused of illegally recording conversations pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges Tuesday morning.

Former Luzerne County controller Walter Griffith pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges at theLuzerne County Courthouse Tuesday morning.

The county controller was accused of illegally recording three conversations without consent just days before the May primaries.

The original charges were felonies which carried a possible prison sentence, but as part of the plea deal charges against Griffith were reduced to misdemeanors.

He resigned as county controller in August.

Griffith pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of obstructing administration of law and was sentenced to three years' probation.

As part of the plea deal, Griffith agreed not to contact the people he illegally recorded, to serve 50 hours of community service, and not to run for a public office until his probation is complete.

Defense Attorney Joe D'Andrea told Newswatch 16 that Griffith is remorseful, yet is unsure if he will pursue politics in the future.

"There was no real damage here. The information that he took and recorded was never disseminated. Nobody got hurt in any way," said D'Andrea. " He really loved what he did, but sometimes you can overdo it. I think Walter, at times, with the zealous way he lived, his role as the controller sometimes overwhelmed him."