Former Atlanta Mayor Sentenced to Prison

campbell.jpg(Washington Post) A federal judge said he believed Bill Campbell helped make Atlanta a world-class city but wasn’t convinced the former mayor had accepted responsibility for his misdeeds. Judge Richard Story on Tuesday sentenced Campbell to 2 1/2 years in prison and fined him $6,300 for tax evasion. Story said he was overcome with a “pall of disappointment” over the breadth of misconduct during Campbell’s administration. Campbell, 52, was convicted in March. “Within my heart, I am not sure you have accepted responsibility,” he told Campbell.

Mystech: Ok, it’s been at least 48 hours since I’ve posting something that would cause a certain local reader to want to throttle me so here goes.

Campbell was cleared of charges he lined his pockets with payoffs as he guided Atlanta during the 1990s, years that included the 1996 Summer Olympics. But he was found guilty of failing to pay taxes on what prosecutors said were his ill-gotten gains.Sentencing guidelines had called for 2 1/2 years to 3 years and one month in prison. The judge also ruled that Campbell owed $62,823 in back taxes.

Campbell, who was ordered to voluntarily surrender to police at a later date, said he was confident he would prevail on appeal.

“What we saw today was an attempt, unfortunately, to undo the jury’s verdict,” Campbell said. “This is not justice. I never betrayed the public trust.”

Campbell’s defense team argued that his two decades of public service were grounds for leniency. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Vineyard said that if the former mayor “seeks credit for the good things that happened on his watch, he must also take credit for the bad.”

During the trial, prosecutors tried to prove that Campbell had taken more than $160,000 in illegal campaign contributions, cash payments, junkets and home improvements from city contractors while he was mayor from 1994 to 2002.

Instead, he was convicted on just three counts of federal tax evasion, and acquitted on racketeering and bribery charges _ a verdict he and his attorneys painted as a vindication.

The government’s seven-year investigation into city hall corruption also led to the conviction of 10 of Campbell’s subordinates.

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