Fearing negative publicity and difficulty in securing an impartial jury, the attorney for former Marathon City Councilman Dan Zieg and his domestic partner, City Clerk Diane Clavier, who were arrested three years ago on second-degree petit theft charges for allegedly stealing a sign belonging to former City Councilman Mark Senmartin, reached a plea deal Monday with the State Attorney’s Office.

State Attorney Dennis Ward has been eager to close this case, which was expected to go to trial this week. The plea hearing took place Monday, Jan. 23, where both defendants pleaded no contest to the charges.