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Former Alaska lawmaker sentenced to 5 years for bribery and corruption

[JURIST] Former Alaska state Representative Tom Anderson [official profile] was sentenced to five years in prison Monday for his conviction on seven counts of bribery and corruption [JURIST report] by an Anchorage federal jury in July. Anderson, a Republican, was accused of accepting nearly $26,000 he believed to be from private correctional facilities firm Cornell Industries [corporate website] in exchange for Anderson's influence on then-pending measures on halfway houses. The deal was in fact arranged by an FBI informant inside Cornell who recorded incriminating conversations with Anderson and former lobbyist Bill Bobrick. Anderson's lawyers called the conduct entrapment, but an 11-person jury found him guilty on all counts, including extortion, bribery and money laundering. US District Judge John Sedwick sentenced Anderson to five years in prison instead of the eight years and one month the prosecution requested because Sedwick has long been an involved community member.

Anderson and Bobrick were accused of conspiring to arrange payments to Anderson from a false website dedicated to legislative issues. Bobrick, charged and convicted on one count of bribery, faces up to two and a half years in prison. Bobrick has cooperated with government officials throughout the investigation and testified against Anderson [KTUU report]. Three other Alaska state congressmen have faced federal bribery charges related to oil field services company VECO Corp [corporate website]. Former House Speaker Pete Kott was convicted in September of conspiracy to solicit financial benefits, extortion and bribery, while former Rep. Vic Kohring will begin his corruption trial next week. The trial date of the third, state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, has not been determined. AP has more. The Anchorage Daily News has local coverage.

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