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Former North Miami City Attorney Barry Kutun pleaded guilty Friday to child abuse charges that stemmed from a sex scandal last year.
Kutun, a longtime state lawmaker who once ran for governor, entered the courtroom with his wife of more than 40 years. "The defendant will plead guilty to one count of child abuse," said Richard Sharpstein, Kutun's defense attorney. Kutun admitted to a single felony, and more serious charges of having sex with a minor were dropped.

The sex scandal surfaced last year, shortly after Kutun was sworn in as North Miami's city attorney.

Kutun admittedly signed an affidavit in October 2006 detailing the meetings with a 16-year-old prostituted but claimed the girl pretended to be 18. The affidavit was drawn up in response to an extortion attempt against Kutun, his attorney said.

Kutun claimed the affidavit became public after it was stolen from his desk. He was briefly suspended from office and later fired. "I'm not a criminal here," he said when the allegations surfaced. Kutun was arrested in May 2006. He was charged in Miami-Dade and Broward counties with having sex with a minor.Sharpstein said those charges shouldn't have been filed.

"There was no victim. The girl's underage, but she was also performing acts of prostitution," he said. The Hollywood madam who set up Kutun's liaisons pleaded guilty to her role in the case. Roberta Orenbuch received probation.

Kutun will also receive five years of probation, which could end earlier if he continues undergoing sex-offender treatment and marital counseling.

Kutun, who wouldn't comment about his guilty plea, still faces charges in Broward County. Kutun's attorney said he is hoping for a similar plea deal there.

"Mr. Kutun believes it's in his best interests to get this over with -- the public spectacle and all the humiliation he's had to deal with," Sharpstein said.


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