Lawyer: 'Jena Six' teen near plea deal

A member of the "Jena Six" is trying to work out a plea to a misdemeanor charge and avoid a second trial on felony charges stemming from a racially charged beating.

That's according to an attorney for Mychal Bell, who says the plea could be entered as early as Monday.

The 17-year-old Bell, who is black, is scheduled to go on trial December Sixth on the felony charges for his alleged part in an attack on a white student at Jena High School in central Louisiana.

Bell originally was charged as an adult with attempted murder. That charge was reduced before a jury convicted him in June of aggravated second-degree battery. In September, that verdict was thrown out by an appeals court that said Bell should be tried as a juvenile.

The charges against Bell and five other black students sparked a huge civil-rights demonstration in Jena in September. Felony charges against the other students are pending.

Critics said prosecutors have treated blacks more harshly than whites in LaSalle Parish. They point to an incident before the attack in which three other white teens were accused of hanging nooses from a tree at the high school.

No charges were filed in that case. The district attorney says there was no state crime to charge them with.