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Virginia Politics
Posted at 01:35 PM ET, 08/12/2011

Phillip Hamilton, ex-Va. delegate, gets 9 1/2 years

Phillip A. Hamilton, a former high-ranking member of the Virginia House of Delegates, has been sentenced to nearly a decade in federal prison after a May conviction on bribery and extortion charges.

Hamilton served as vice chairman of the House appropriations committee before voters ousted him in 2009 from the House seat he had held for 21 years. A jury found that the Newport News Republican steered a $500,000 earmark to Old Dominion University, securing a $40,000-a-year position at the university in return.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson’s 114-month sentence, delivered in a Richmond courtroom, is less than the 12.5-year minimum sentence federal prosecutors had sought. But it exceeds the eight-year maximum Hamilton’s attorney argued was appropriate.

Prosecutors says Hamilton, 59, is the first elected Virginia legislator to be convicted of selling his position for personal gain.

“Today is a sad day in the history of the Commonwealth,” U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said in a statement. “We hope his conviction and sentence will serve as a reminder to every elected official in the Commonwealth that they must uphold the public’s trust or face similar consequences.”

By  |  01:35 PM ET, 08/12/2011

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