CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former CIA director David Petraeus, whose career was destroyed by an extramarital affair with his biographer, was sentenced Thursday to two years' probation and fined $100,000 for giving her classified material while she was working on the book.
The sentencing came two months after he agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.
The plea agreement carried a possible sentence of up to a year in prison. In court papers, prosecutors recommended two years' probation and a $40,000 fine. But Judge David Keesler increased the fine to ''reflect seriousness of the offense.'' He said Petraeus committed a ''grave and uncharacteristic error in judgment.''
Appearing calm and wearing a business suit, Petraeus made a brief statement before he was sentenced, apologizing ''for the pain my actions have caused.''
Petraeus's attorney Jake Sussman said this was not a case about the public dissemination of classified information but the wrongful removal of materials.
But prosecutor James Melendres said, ''This is a serious criminal offense. He was entrusted with the nation's most classified secrets. The defendant betrayed that trust.'' Melendres said Petraeus compounded the betrayal by lying to the FBI.
Speaking after the hearing, Petraeus said this marks the end of a two-and-a-half year ordeal.
''I now look forward to moving on to the next phase of my life,'' he said, before walking to a waiting car.
Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who regularly represents government employees and military members in national security cases, said Petraeus's punishment was lighter than what others in similar cases have received. ''There's a double standard,'' he said.
Zaid said he believes the government struck a deal to avoid trying such a high-profile former government official.
''It would have been a political quagmire,'' he said.
The prospect of probation for Petraeus had been raised as an issue in an unrelated case by supporters of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer convicted of giving a New York Times reporter classified details of an operation to derail Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia have urged a stiff sentence for Sterling, and probation officers have calculated a sentencing guidelines range of 20 to 24 years.
Supporters including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu argued that Sterling's expected sentence would be out of line with the deal that Petraeus secured.
The agreement was filed in federal court in Charlotte, the city where Paula Broadwell, the general's biographer and former lover, lives with her husband and children.
The affair ruined the reputation of the retired four-star Army general who led US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As part of his deal, Petraeus agreed not to contest the facts laid out by the government.
Prosecutors said that while Broadwell was writing her book in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time as the top military commander in Afghanistan.
Days later, he took the binders back to his house.