Former Mayor Sentenced for Soliciting Bribes

     (CN) – The former mayor of Charlotte, N.C., who pleaded guilty to accepting more than $50,000 in bribes, will be going to federal prison for nearly four years and will have to pay a $10,000 fine.
     Patrick Cannon, a Democrat, is the first chief executive in the city’s history to be sentenced to prison.
     “You have seriously tarnished the city’s image,” U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney said as he pronounced the sentence.
     Cannon, 47, who looked like he had been punched in the gut when he heard his punishment, apologized for his wrongdoing.
     “I have failed as a father,” he told the judge. “I have failed as a husband, I failed as a servant leader, and I failed as a citizen.”
     As he walked out of the courthouse Cannon expressed his hope that “the community will be forgiving.”
     Cannon rose from the housing projects to the city’s highest position where he received bribes in return for political favors and took five payments from FBI agents over a 13-month period. He also accepted a trip and spending money, and was given the key to a luxury Charlotte apartment for his personal use.
     Cannon’s attorneys asked for leniency, arguing that his recent failures were not indicative of years of public service.
     “Mr. Cannon has in so many different ways punished himself as effectively as any outside source could,” said his attorney Henderson Hill. “If punishment were the goal of this proceeding, this court’s work would be done.”
     Attorney Anne Tompkins, disagreed, saying, as an elected official, Cannon should be held to a higher standard.
     Tompkins said this was not a one-time lapse in judgment; Cannon became more brazen over time.
     The judge said Cannon is “a good man” who “made serious mistakes.”
     The ex-mayor faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. His attorneys asked that he be allowed to self-report to prison after Dec. 30 at a facility near Charlotte.

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