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3 Former S.C. Lawmakers Sentenced

December 14, 1999

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A former state representative has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in a decade-old bribery and extortion scandal that involved more than two dozen public officials.

Larry Blanding, 45, was convicted in August of two counts of attempted extortion. Prosecutors said he took $1,300 from lobbyist-turned-informant Ron Cobb in return for Blanding’s 1990 vote in support of a pari-mutuel racing bill.

Two other lawmakers _ former Rep. Paul Derrick and former state Sen. J.M. ``Bud″ Long _ were handed lesser sentences in the federal court hearing Monday.

The August trial was Blanding’s third. His 1991 conviction was tossed out and a retrial in June ended in a hung jury.

Derrick was sentenced to 24 months in prison for extortion and conspiracy. Long got three years’ probation for lying to an FBI agent during the investigation.

In total, 28 state lawmakers, public officials and others were implicated in the investigation dubbed ``Lost Trust.″

Charges against Blanding, Long, Derrick and two other former representatives were thrown out at one point because of alleged misconduct by prosecutors. A federal appeals court reinstated the charges. The two other men have since died.

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