Former senator Dave Durenberger (R-Minn.) was sentenced yesterday to one year probation and fined $1,000 on five misdemeanor charges that he stole $425 in public funds by abusing his congressional expense account.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Harris refused a Justice Department request that Durenberger serve home detention.
Durenberger had pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges.
In 1993, Durenberger was indicted on charges of felony fraud, accused of stealing $3,825 by hiding his ownership of a Minneapolis condominium to collect reimbursement from the Senate for nights he stayed there.
Under federal guidelines, he could have received as much as 10 months in prison or as little as four months of probation. He also could have been fined up to $500,000.
Harris said he had received a "remarkable collection of letters" from friends and colleagues urging leniency. "I don't think there is any chance of your repeating any conduct such as that with which you are standing before us today," the judge said.
Durenberger was denounced by the Senate for his conduct and did not seek reelection.
In an emotional address to the judge, Durenberger said he has already been punished severely for the ethical violations that led to the criminal charges. The hardest thing to lose, he said, was the trust of voters. To lose that trust, Durenberger said, "you've lost it all. That is the toughest sentence." CAPTION: Former senator Dave Durenberger told the judge he has already been punished by the loss of voters' trust.