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California Democratic Senator Is Facing Jail Time For Accepting Bribes

On Oct. 21, former Democratic state Sen. Ron Calderon of California was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to throwing his support behind congressional bills in exchange for bribes.

Had he maintained his initial entrapment defense instead of pleading guilty, Calderon could have been handed up to three life sentences for the scandal,reports The Associated Press.

“My goal was always to do the right thing for California,” Calderon said at his sentencing, notes the Los Angeles Times. “At no point did I intend to break the law.”

He also stated that his “reputation is destroyed” and lamented that he “had so much potential for life after politics,” but prosecutors hit him back hard, saying that he never apologized or took responsibility for his actions. Prosecutors originally sought a five-year sentence.

“Defendant asks this court to endorse his view that an elected official who repeatedly and egregiously abuses the trust of the electorate warrants essentially the lowest possible sanction for a federal conviction,” Assistant U.S.Attorney Mack Jenkins wrote, according to AP. “Defendant’s requested sentence would permit [Calderon] to continue to trivialize his corrupt actions, as he does throughout his sentencing position, and continue to evade true accountability.”

Calderon was indicted in 2014 along with two other Democratic state senators, one of whom is his brother, Tom Calderon, who reportedly helped him launder money. The congressman initially pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in June, but later confessed that he had solicited more than $155,000 in payments and privileges for taking particular stances on state legislation.

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