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Democratic fund-raiser Chung given 5 years probation

LOS ANGELES (AllPolitics) -- Democratic fund-raiser Johnnie Chung was sentenced Monday to five years probation for illegally giving $28,000 to the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 presidential election campaign.

Chung
Chung  

Chung, who could have received up to 37 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Manuel Real to complete 3,000 hours of community service and to report to his probation officer every 180 days.

At Monday's sentencing, Chung expressed regret for his campaign contributions and pleaded with the judge to give him a "second chance to be a good citizen."

"I am truly sorry for what I have done. It cost me a very high price not only financially but also emotionally," he said. "Your honor, give me one more chance."

Chung, a Torrance, California, businessman and Taiwanese-born U.S. citizen, entered a guilty plea in March as part of an agreement to cooperate with Justice Department lawyers investigating the Clinton-Gore 1996 fund-raising campaign.

Chung said he used "straw donors" to funnel the money and then reimburse them.

Real, who had previously postponed the sentencing after receiving a letter from the Democratic National Committee, again expressed his surprise at the committee's claim that it was victimized by Chung.

Real said that if the officials who wrote to him "didn't know what was going on, they are the dumbest politicians I've ever seen."

Chung's attorney, Brian Sun, told the judge his client wants to put his past mistakes behind him and move on with his life.

"The man before you (Chung) is a good man, your honor, one who made mistakes. We are asking the court to allow him to put this behind him. He got caught in a maelstrom that was not of his making," Sun said.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Michael McCaul, a member of the Campaign Finance Task Force, said the prosecution agreed with a probationary sentence given Chung's cooperation in an exhaustive investigation that has lasted more than two years.

After the sentencing Sun told reporters: "It was a fair and just sentence. Mr. Chung and I are very pleased with the outcome of this case."

Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES

Panel Releases 'Dueling' Reports, Remaining Partisan To The End (03-10-98)

AllPolitics - Does $25,000 Buy A Meeting With A Cabinet Officer? (08-20-98)

Chung Contributed To Group Set Up To Counter Whitewater Charges (08-11-98)


RELATED SITES

Federal Election Commission

Common Cause - Citizens working to reform government ethics

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MORE STORIES:

Monday, December 14, 1998

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