Former Rep. Chaka Fattah sentenced to decade in prison

- A federal judge on Monday sentenced former 2nd district Pennsylvania congressman Chaka Fattah to ten years in prison, after a jury found him guilty on 18 fraud, bribery and money laundering charges.

 "I want to thank my legal team and I want to thank the support of my family and staff and friends through this very tough time," said a still smiling Fattah as he left court without taking questions from a throng of reporters.

The seeds for Fattah's political and personal implosion were planted in 2007, during his failed campaign for Philadelphia mayor.

A jury would find Fattah accepted bribes and stole charity and federal  grant funds to pay off massive campaign debts and to support a lavish lifestyle.

The scandal led to his defeat in the May, 2016 Democratic congressional primary.

He quit his second district seat shortly after his June conviction.

The government had requested a sentence of 17-22 years, but US Attorney Zane David Memeger insisted he was not disappointed by the judge's ruling.

"He used his position in Congress to benefit himself, rather than his constituents, and he engaged in criminal activity for his own financial benefit," said Memeger of Fattah.   "But (he) is also an individual who's done significant things on behalf of the city of Philadelphia for a number of years."

The courtroom was packed with Fattah supporters, some of whom testified as character witnesses, describing a career of helping his constituents, and others, in areas like education and scientific research.

"I know he was a good man," said one of those character witnesses-- Lynne Honickman. "A good man who made some greivous mistakes."

"We lose a guy who's still got a whole lot to give," said Philly state senator and fellow Democrat Vincent Hughes.  "A whole lot still to contribute."

Fattah's wife Renee, a former longtime Philadelphia TV news anchor, whose own reputation was sullied in this case, left court without comment.

But Fattah's father remained confident the final chapter to this story has not yet been written.

"I feel extremely confident that Chaka is going to be exonerated on appeal," said David Fattah.

The former congressman has been ordered to surrender to authorities on January 25.

Under federal rules, he will likely serve almost all of that decade behind bars.

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