Atlanta's former mayor sentenced to prison
Judge says Campbell has not accepted responsibility for crimes
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who presided over the city's economic renaissance of the 1990s, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison and fined more than $6,000 for tax evasion.
U.S. District Judge Richard Story praised Campbell, 53, for two decades of public service but said he could not ignore his crimes.
Campbell was convicted in March of three counts of tax evasion. He was cleared of charges that he lined his pockets with payoffs from a contractor but was found guilty of failing to pay taxes on what prosecutors said was illegally obtained money. Campbell said the money was gambling winnings. (Watch the prosecutor explain the crimes -- 3:19)
"Yes, Bill Campbell, you did good things, and there is a person in this room that recognizes this," Story said, referring to himself. He cited Campbell's work in improving public housing in Atlanta as an example.
But the judge added that during the trial he "was overcome, almost appalled, at the breadth of misconduct in your administration."
"I am going to send you to prison," Story told Campbell, who was mayor for eight years and served for 12 years on the City Council. Campbell must also settle with the Internal Revenue Service for $62,823 in taxes he failed to pay.
Story said the punishment was harsher than it might have been because Campbell had not been honest during a pre-sentencing investigation.
Campbell had denied getting documents -- tally sheets that reflected his gambling winnings -- from a prosecution witness before his trial. The witness said Tuesday that he gave Campbell the sheets.
Story also cited $45,000 in kickbacks he said Campbell received from a city contractor, even though the jury found that Campbell had not taken the money.
"Within my heart, I am not sure you have accepted responsibility for what happened," the judge said Tuesday.
Campbell, dressed in a dark suit and tie, his wife seated behind him, had no immediate response.
Later, he said he "disagrees vehemently" with the sentence. "This is not justice. We will appeal," he said. "We are very confident that we will prevail on appeal."
"I've never betrayed the public trust and the jury found that way," Campbell added. (Watch as Campbell reacts to the verdict outside the courthouse -- :56)
He described the sentence as "an attempt to undo the jury's verdict."
David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, disagreed. "We respect the jury's verdict." he said. "The jury found him guilty of three serious tax felonies."
He called the sentence "a fair result" and added, "I'll tell you today that his appeal will ultimately be denied."
The court found that Campbell intentionally failed to report more than $160,000 in income on three tax returns, Nahmias said.
Campbell will be assigned a date by the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence unless the judge grants him a bond pending appeal. Typically, people involved in white-collar crimes serve their sentence at low-security prisons.
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