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Ark. State Senator Wilson Sentenced

June 1, 2000

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A former state senator accused of being the kingpin in a racketeering scheme that stretched into the halls of the Statehouse was sentenced Thursday to more than 6 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.176 million.

Nick Wilson’s 70-month sentence is to run concurrently with an 18-month sentence he received after being convicted in November of tax evasion and conspiracy.

The former Democratic senator, known as a powerbroker during his 29 years in the Legislature, was identified as the leader of a public corruption scheme in a 133-count indictment last year. The indictment included three other past or present legislators, two former directors of the state education department and several lawyers.

Wilson resigned from the Senate on Dec. 31 under the threat of expulsion. He pleaded guilty to racketeering shortly before he was to go to trial in March.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Wilson could have received up to 87 months in prison.

U.S. Attorney Paula Casey said her office would withhold any recommendation for leniency for Wilson until after his assistance in the investigation of others in the corruption scandal is secured. He has agreed to testify against three co-defendants still facing trial.

In court Thursday, he told the judge: ``I publicly apologize to the citizens of the state, to the court, and especially to my family for the injuries caused by my actions. I acknowledge those actions and I express remorse.″

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