Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed, after a series of early wins that drastically reduced the scope of a once-sprawling public corruption case against him, appeared to have prosecutors on their heels in his fight to clear his name once and for all.

Then he changed course: on the first day of his scheduled trial, the longtime mayor switched course and pleaded guilty to 20 counts of theft by receiving stolen property, including two felonies.

The decision was taken, attorney Henry Hockeimer Jr. said in an interview with PennLive afterward, in large part because he and Reed, 67, think there is a high likelihood the sentence imposed Friday will not include prison time.

That is ultimately Judge Kevin Hess's call, Hockeimer was quick to stress.

But Reed's team will argue vehemently for "probation, and no jail," Hockeimer said.

"And if we didn't believe that would ultimately be the result we probably wouldn't have agreed to go forward with this," he said, referring to negotiations with the state Attorney General's office that resulted in Monday's plea.