A federal judge sentenced Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter to 33 months in prison on Wednesday.
"Almost from the moment she took office as a Gwinnett County Commissioner, she began betraying the trust of the citizens of Gwinnett County," said U.S. Attorney Sally Yates.
Lasseter pleaded guilty in May to a federal bribery charge. She admitted that she agreed to sell her vote on a real estate deal to an undercover FBI agent who posed as a businessman.
Lasseter received a lesser sentence because she helped prosecutors bring bribery charges against Gwinnett County businessman Mark Gary.
"Mark Gary can't say anything today. We expect that Mark will be in court in the next day or two, or perhaps next week to enter a plea of guilty," said Gary's attorney Paul Kish.
Gary also appeared before a federal judge Wednesday. He waived his rights to an indictment and told the judge he plans to plead guilty to bribery.
According to court documents, Gary paid Lasseter, 64, and her son, John Fanning, $30,000 in exchange for Lasseter's Commission vote to approve an application Gary submitted to the county to develop a $4 million solid waste transfer station.
In April 2009, Lasseter voted to approve Gary's pending application. In June 2009, Gary paid Fanning $30,000 worth of gambling chips at an out-of-state casino.
"There's corruption in Gwinnett County. Mark Gary is not the problem. An honest developer can't do business in Gwinnett County," Kish said.
Federal prosecutors said Fanning gave some of the money to Lasseter and used the remainder for his and Lasseter's personal benefit, which included buying a vehicle.
Lasseter's son, Fanning, and Hall County businessman Carl 'Skip' Cain pleaded guilty to the bribery scheme and also to drug charges.
Fanning and Cain acted as couriers delivering what they believed to be cocaine and what they believed to be drug money.
They will be sentenced on Sept. 18.
"I hope it sends the message that if you are a corrupt public officials. If you take payoffs and betray the public trust, you will be held accountable," Yates said.
Lasseter was Duluth's mayor for 14 years. She was elected to the county commission in 2009 and took her seat in 2010.
She is expected to be in the federal prison system within six weeks.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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