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Operative gets prison for bilking NYC mayor

Court Watch     updated  2011/12/19 11:22

A political operative convicted of bamboozling Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced to prison Monday un a case that brought the billionaire politician to the witness stand and gave the public a behind-the-scenes look at his campaign and City Hall.

John Haggerty agreed to pay $750,000 in restitution to Bloomberg in addition to his prison term of 1 1/3 to 4 years.

Haggerty, a veteran Republican campaign consultant, was convicted in October after a trial that jurors called a crash course in the workings of politics. Besides the business-mogul-turned-mayor, the case drew in the state's third-largest political party and featured a coterie of Bloomberg insiders sketching their roles in his political, philanthropic and business affairs.

"Since starting my career, I've worked hard to make a reputation in the world of politics and government as a dedicated, honorable individual. Today, my reputation is destroyed," Haggerty told the judge in a strong voice. "If I could do it all over again, I would certainly do it much differently than I did."

He walked out of court briskly, without handcuffs, after state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel pronounced a sentence he said he felt necessary "to restore the public's confidence in the electoral process and to serve as a deterrent." Haggerty's lawyers said they planned to ask an appeals court to let him out on bail during a planned appeal.

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