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US lawmaker gets 13 years in prison for cold cash conviction

Last Updated: Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 12:38

Washington: A disgraced former US congressman who stashed USD 90,000 in his freezer was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
William Jefferson, a Democratic lawmaker who represented a district in the southern state of Louisiana that included part of New Orleans, was convicted in August on 11 of 16 counts, including bribery, money laundering and racketeering involving businesses in Africa.

The 13-year prison sentence, far less than the 27 years recommended by prosecutors, is said to be the longest prison term ever for a US lawmaker convicted on charges of corruption.

The previous record came in 2006, when former Republican congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham received a prison sentence of eight years and four months for accepting bribes from defence contractors.

Jefferson, 62, was also ordered to forfeit more than USD 470,000 in assets.

"In a stunning betrayal of the public`s trust, former congressman Jefferson repeatedly used his public office for private gain," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Mythili Raman said in a statement.

"The lengthy prison sentence imposed on Mr Jefferson today is a stark reminder to all public officials that the consequences of accepting bribes can and will be severe."

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 12:38

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