Guilty plea in alleged sex slavery case has nothing to do with slavery or kidnapping.

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — When a western New York man was arrested in July, the allegations were salacious and attracted national media attention: sexual slavery, kidnapping and claims of gang involvement.

On Thursday, Brandon Todd, 20, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Rochester, N.Y., to a much lesser charge — lying to an FBI agent. His term could be one year in jail, versus the decades he originally faced. With good behavior in jail, he could be eligible for release in May when he is sentenced.

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U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci Jr. could reject the plea deal. If so, the maximum sentence would be five years.

"The things like sex trafficking and being involved in a gang all make good headlines," said his attorney, Mark Funk, after the plea. "It wasn't borne out by the evidence in the courtroom."

In July the FBI arrested Todd and charged him with kidnapping. Agents alleged that last spring he kidnapped a Florida woman he met on a bus to California, brought her back to his home in the town of Prattsburgh, N.Y., and kept her imprisoned there for sex.

The woman, then 28, faked an asthma attack in May and went to the hospital, the FBI alleged. She had been able to contact a boyfriend who lived in Florida, and he came and took her home from the hospital, authorities alleged.

National and international media outlets trumpeted the allegations against Todd, a slight young man with a background of mental instability and false claims to authorities.

As more evidence came to light, it became obvious that both Todd and his accuser were troubled individuals.

Federal authorities continued to insist at court hearings that the woman only returned to New York with Todd because he threatened her, and that he used manipulative coercion — like claiming he was in the Latin Kings gang — to keep her in his grandparents' home where he lives.

Federal prosecutors said the woman was emotionally vulnerable, and had possibly lived on the streets at one time. She was particularly susceptible to Todd's threats, they maintained.

But Funk detailed numerous inconsistencies in her allegations. And residents in the town where Todd lived recounted how they'd seen him and the woman out together, and she seemed content.

The woman even left the house alone sometimes, but made no attempt to flee then.

Even on Facebook she portrayed the relationship as consensual, Funk said.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors declined to comment further on the case. Todd pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to an FBI agent.

Todd admitted that in a phone call to the FBI in July, he lied and claimed that he was involved in a sex trafficking ring and had trafficked 49 women.

Authorities earlier alleged that Todd used calls like this to the FBI to convince the woman that he was involved in crime.

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