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The sentence on corruption means Jenne could get out in nine months.
FORT LAUDERDALE - Former Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne, once the county's most powerful politician, was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.
Jenne had hoped to avoid jail time for the tax evasion and mail fraud charges, arguing that his ruined career and destroyed reputation combined with his decades of exemplary public service warranted only probation. But U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas rejected that argument.
"It doesn't promote respect for the law if the public views someone as getting a slap on the wrist," Dimitrouleas said at a sentencing hearing. "It is important to deter other individuals from criminal activity."
Federal prosecutors had sought a two-year sentence, saying that Jenne's pattern of using his position as the county's chief law enforcement official for personal gain had done immense damage to the 6,300-employee Broward Sheriff's Office and harmed public trust in government.
"The people of Broward County shouldn't have to choose between leaders who are effective and those who are law-abiding. They are entitled to both," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Axelrod.
After the hearing, Miami U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta issued a statement saying Jenne got off too lightly.
Although Dimitrouleas insisted on jail time, he gave Jenne a break because inmates must serve every day of a one-year prison term. By making it a year and a day, the judge made Jenne eligible for release in as little as nine months for good behavior, said his attorney, David Bogenschutz.
The sentence followed a three-hour hearing featuring a who's who of Broward County's top public figures, including former state Attorney General Bob Butterworth, former Senate President Jim Scott and former state Rep. Fred Lippman.
All praised Jenne as one of the county's leading politicians - he is a former state prosecutor, county commissioner and 20-year member of the Florida Senate - and sought to portray his wrongdoing as an aberration in an otherwise unblemished career.
Jenne resigned in September after nine years as sheriff, just before pleading guilty to three counts of tax evasion and one count of mail fraud conspiracy stemming from a series of questionable financial transactions, some involving people who did business with the sheriff's office.
A developer provided Jenne with a $20,000 loan funneled through his two secretaries to conceal it. That same developer did more than $8,000 in demolition work for free at property owned by Jenne, according to court documents.
Jenne's former law firm provided about $40,000 to pay for and insure a Mercedes-Benz convertible he kept after he became sheriff.
[Last modified November 17, 2007, 01:53:19]