A federal judge here yesterday told an executive of Excavation Construction Inc. that he deserved to go to prison for his conviction of lying to a federal grand jury. But instead he sentenced him to probation and a $5,000 fine.

Robert P. Jenkins, 51, of Great Falls, Va., had been found guilty on three counts of lying to the grand jury investigating an allegedly illegal and corrupt arrangement between ECI and then D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert H. Campbell. U.S. District Judge John H. Pratt found Jenkins guilty of the lying charges last month in a nonjury trial.

Jenkins is assistant general manager and secretary of ECI. At the time he was brought before the grand jury, the panel was seeking to determine whether ECI had received preferential judicial treatment from Judge Campbell in exchange for gifts from ECI.

The inquiry focused mainly on what Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Shamanda called "the same recurring theme: ECI was receiving extraordinarily favorable judicial disposition from Judge Campbell of tickets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the public treasury of the District of Columbia.

No charges have been placed against Judge Campbell. He retired on medical disability during the investigation, which is continuing.

According to evidence presented in the Campbell investigation, Campbell routinely imposed suspended fines on tickets issued to overweight trucks owned by the construction firm or dismissed the tickets.

Jenkins' attorney, Joseph Sitnick, said yesterday that his client clearly was not "the man they [the grand jurors] were looking for" in their investigation and that he "put himself in a box for really no reason."

Shmanda disagreed, saying Jenkins "deliberately impeded and significantly diverted" the grand jury investigation and that he deserved a long prison term. d

Pratt said that although Jenkins still did not seem to admit he had lied, and although he seemed to be "covering up for persons above you," there would be no jail sentence imposed. He gave Jenkins 30 days to pay the fine.

Jenkins was found guilty of lying when he denied knowledge of three truckloads of dirt supplied for Campbell's yard by the firm, denied knowledge of certain acts Campbell took to free the firm's impounded trucks, and denied knowledge of other favors the company had done for Campbell -- including moving him from his old residence to a new home.