The second sitting federal judge to be convicted of a crime was denied a new trial yesterday and sentenced to five years in prison for lying to a grand jury.
U.S. District Court Judge Walter L. Nixon Jr., convicted Feb. 9 of two counts of perjury for telling the 1984 special grand jury that he never discussed with prosecutors the drug case of a wealthy businessman's son, was allowed to remain free on bond pending appeal.
Nixon had faced up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. U.S. District Court Judge James Meredith imposed no fine and gave Nixon the maximum five years on each perjury count, but said the terms could be served concurrently.
Sentencing came less than an hour after Meredith rejected motions seeking a new trial for Nixon, 57, the chief judge for Mississippi's southern district and on the bench since 1968.
Nixon's trial stemmed from his telling the grand jury he never tried to influence the drug-smuggling case of Drew Fairchild, who eventually pleaded guilty to federal and state charges and served a 4 1/2-month sentence. Nixon was acquitted of accepting an illegal gift from Wiley Fairchild, Drew Fairchild's father.
Harry Claiborne, a federal judge in Nevada, was convicted in 1984 of willfully failing to report $106,000 on his federal income tax returns.