Balloon Hoax Parents Plead Guilty

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The Colorado parents whose giant balloon hoax grabbed the attention of the nation went before a judge, Friday.

Richard and Mayumi Heene plead guilty. The two claimed their son was adrift in a big helium balloon in hopes of landing the family a reality television show.

"We are prepared at this time to enter a plea of guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, a class 4 felony," their lawyer said in court.

Richard Heene plead guilty to illegally influencing the sheriff running the investigation-- a felony.

His wife plead guilty to making a false report-- a misdemeanor

Richard Heene's lawyer says the guilty pleas are part of a deal to keep the family together.

Mayumi Heene is a Japanese citizen and a felony conviction could have meant she would be deported.

"They looked at what's in the best interests of the family, what would be best for the kids, what would be best for them," said lawyer David Lane. "This is not an irrational decision."

Neighbors and police, along with television viewers across the country were concerned that 6-year-old Falcon Heene was inside a runaway helium balloon.

He later turned up safe, but when he told Larry King the family "did it for a show," suspicion of a hoax grew.

Mayumi Heene, who appeared with her family twice on the ABC reality series WifeSwap, admitted the publicity stunt was made up to make the family more marketable.

The couple could face jail time and may have to foot the bill for the massive search.

They will be sentenced Dec. 23.

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