A federal judge sentenced former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson to 42 months in prison Thursday — seven months after the once-rising politician pleaded guilty to eight counts of attempted extortion.
The sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock splits federal guidelines, which call for a sentence between 36 and 46 months.
WBUR's David Boeri, who was in federal court, said Woodlock called her a "repeat offender," citing her tax evasion conviction in the 1990s. He spoke of her good works in the community but called her behavior unacceptable and said he had to send a message that political corruption is not tolerable.
Prosecutors had wanted a four-year sentence, citing the tax evasion charge and past unethical conduct. In sentencing hearings, prosecutors also brought forward a Dorchester construction company owner who testified that he gave Wilkerson nearly $8,000 in additional bribes.
Earlier this week, Wilkerson sent a letter to the judge requesting leniency. A number of letters of support were also delivered to Woodlock, seeking mercy on Wilkerson's behalf.
In June, Wilkerson admitted she took cash bribes totaling $23,500 from undercover agents and a cooperating witness. The case gained national notoriety because she was caught on tape stuffing the money into her bra.
The sting also took down Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, who was expelled from the body in December after his conviction on corruption charges.
This program aired on January 6, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.