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Turner Broadcasting ready to pay for Boston sign scare

Story Highlights

NEW: Company near reimbursement deal with Massachusetts
NEW: State, suspects' lawyers negotiating over charges
• "We are deeply sorry," Turner Broadcasting says in newspaper ads
• Blinking signs found around Boston promoted "Aqua Teen Hunger Force"
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BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- A deal could be struck by Monday for Turner Broadcasting System Inc. to compensate state and local governments for a panic caused by a marketing stunt, Massachusetts' attorney general said Friday.

"Turner Broadcasting has offered to pay restitution and other costs associated with the response and investigation, and the company has been very cooperative with our office," Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a written statement.

"At this time, we believe we are close to reaching finality in a resolution of this matter." (Watch how the stunt came together Video)

Turner Broadcasting apologized for the incident. The company took out full-page ads in local newspapers apologizing to residents, according to the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

"We never intended this outcome and certainly did not set out to perpetrate a hoax," the ad said. "What we did is inadvertently cause a great American city to deal with the unintended impact of this marketing campaign. For this, we are deeply sorry."

Coakley said she hoped to have final arrangements for the negotiations completed at a meeting Monday between the parties. She said a public announcement of the settlement would be made as soon as all are in agreement.

The uproar began early Wednesday when someone notified an inspector with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority that a suspicious device was hanging in a tunnel.

The device and dozens like it were treated as possible bombs, prompting a public-safety response that Mayor Thomas Menino estimated cost $500,000.

The devices were created to promote "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," a show on Adult Swim, a late-night block of programming on the Turner-owned Cartoon Network. Turner also owns CNN.

Turner Broadcasting said the devices had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston; New York; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The attorney general's office also has begun discussions with the attorneys of two men charged in the incident.

Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28, were arrested Wednesday after the panic settled down. Both pleaded not guilty Thursday to placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct.

Coakley said the discussions with the pair's attorneys should result in a "resolution to the criminal charges" against them.


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Sean Stevens, left, and Peter Berdovsky are charged with placing a hoax device that causes panic. Their attorneys are negotiating with the state.

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