Politicians who had legal trouble

Posted by Shazy on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Politicians with legal problems

Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay is the latest politician to face the judicial system. Read about his case and more politicians who have had legal battles.

Office: DeLay held the No. 2 job in the House of Representatives from 2002 to 2005. What state did he represent?

Highlights: While serving as the majority whip, DeLay earned a tough nickname. He was criticized for his efforts to pressure lobbying firms. He also made waves when he helped promote a certain conspiracy theory about Barack Obama. DeLay showed his lighter side when he competed on a reality show.

Accused of: Playing a role in a scheme to funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

Punishment: The judge sentenced him to three years. He faced five years on the money laundering charge but did not get that.
Charlie Rangel
Office: Rangel represents New York's 15th congressional district.

Highlights: The founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus is the first African-American to chair this powerful committee. He has been arrested for various protests, including the highly publicized fatal shooting of an immigrant in New York.

Accused of: Rangelwas charged on 13 counts, including misusing his office to raise money for a public policy center bearing his name and skipping out on Uncle Sam.

Punishment: Rangel was found guilty on 11 of the 12 charges against him by the adjudicatory subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee. While he didn't face jail time, the punishment from his colleagues was severe.

Rod Blagojevich
Office: Illinois governor, 2003 to 2008; U.S. representative from Illinois, 1997 to 2003

Highlights: Blagojevich is the son of an immigrant steelworker who worked his way to the governor's office. His predecessor is in prison.

Accused of: Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges. Specifically, prosecutors allege he tried to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat, as heard on these tapes.

Punishment: State legislators impeached and removed Blagojevich from office. While awaiting trial, Blagojevich competed on "The Celebrity Apprentice"

Edwin Edwards
Office: Louisiana governor, 1972 to 1980, 1984 to 1988 and 1992 to 1996; U.S. representative from Louisiana, 1965 to 1972.

Highlights: "Colorful politician" incarnate, Edwards raised his state's profile, revised its constitution, and improved civil rights and social programs.

Crime: Long dogged by rumors of ethical transgressions, Edwards was convicted in 2000 on extortion and corruption charges stemming from his dealings with this industry.

Time: Edwards is now serving a 10-year prison term, but is expected to be released soon.

Kwame Kilpatrick
Office: Detroit mayor, 2002 to 2008.

Highlights: One of America's youngest mayors, Kilpatrick once embodied hope for downtrodden Detroit. His flashy style earned him this nickname.

Crime: Kilpatrick lied under oath about an affair with a staffer, which was revealed when racy text messages surfaced. Since then, Kilpatrick has violated his probation.

Time: Currently serving 14 months for probation violation. For the perjury case, he resigned his office, was jailed four months and owes Detroit a hefty restitution.

Bob Ney
Office: U.S. representative from Ohio, 1995 to 2006

Highlights: Ney chaired the Committee on House Administration. He made headlines when, upset with France, he proposed changes to the Capitol's menu descriptions.

Crime: Entangled in the Jack Abramoff scandal, Ney pleaded guilty in 2006 to bribery charges. What gifts did he take? When busted, Ney entered this program.

Time: Given 30 months, Ney spent how long in prison? He did not seek re-election.

George Ryan
Office: Illinois governor, 1999 to 2003

Highlights: Ryan famously opposed capital punishment, and in 2003 he lifted every Illinois death sentence. The governor explained his reasoning.

Crime: Prosecutors convicted Ryan in 2006 of racketeering and fraud, alleging he used public funds for campaign work and traded contracts for gifts.

Time: Ryan is serving a six-year, six-month sentence in prison

Don Siegelman
Office: Alabama governor, 1999 to 2003.

Highlights: Siegelman proposed an unusual method to pay for scholarships. He also helped attract business investment in Alabama, notably by a German automaker.

Crime: After he was governor, Siegelman was convicted of bribery, mainly for giving a seat on a regulatory board to a campaign donor.

Time: Sentenced to more than seven years in prison, Siegelman is free while he appeals. Supporters maintain his case was trumped up by an aide to George W. Bush.

Duke Cunningham
Office: U.S. representative from California, 1991 to 2005.

Highlights: A Vietnam War pilot, Cunningham claimed that Tom Cruise played him in this movie. In Congress, he served on the House Appropriations Committee.

Crime: "Yes, your honor," Cunningham said when a judge asked him in 2005 if he had accepted huge gifts in exchange for trying to influence the Defense Department.

Time: Currently imprisoned, Cunningham received eight years and four months and must pay $1.8 million. Between his plea and sentencing, he lost a lot of weight.

Spiro Agnew
Office: U.S. vice president, 1969 to 1973; Maryland governor, 1967 to 1969.

Highlights: Famous for his alliterative insults, Agnew vigorously supported President Richard M. Nixon's legislative agenda.

Crime: Agnew pleaded no contest to tax evasion in 1973, avoiding bribery charges related to his governorship. His case was unrelated to Nixon's downfall a year later.

Punishment: The plea deal combined probation and restitution. Agnew resigned the vice presidency. He died in 1996.

James Traficant
Office: U.S. representative from Ohio, 1985 to 2002.

Highlights: Outspoken congressman and C-SPAN attraction. Also, the hair thing.

Crime: Convicted of bribery and racketeering, on charges of using campaign funds for personal use. Who represented Traficant during his trial?

Time: Congress expelled Traficant for unethical conduct. He served seven years in prison and was released in fall 2009. In May 2010, he decided to give it another shot.

Bill Janklow
Office: South Dakota governor, 1979 to 1987, 1995 to 2003; U.S. representative from South Dakota, 2003 to 2004.

Highlights: After serving as governor, Janklow served a year in Congress.

Crime: Police say Janklow was speeding and had run a rural stop sign when a motorcyclist struck the side of his car and died. Janklow was convicted of manslaughter.

Time: He resigned his seat and served 100 days in prison. Claiming impairment by this illness, Janklow appealed his conviction and lost.

Anthony Russo
Office: Hoboken, N.J., mayor, 1993 to 2001

Highlights: While Hoboken gentrified, Russo was a reminder of the city's tradition of dubious practices. By the way, how does New Jersey rank among most corrupt states?

Crime: Russo was indicted for extortion and bribery, basically kickbacks from local businesses. In a plea bargain, he admitted to taking $5,000 from an accounting firm.

Time: Despite health concerns, Russo received 30 months in prison and was ordered to pay significant restitution.

Sara Bost
Office: Mayor, Irvington, N.J., 1994 to 2002.

Highlights: Bost was a trailblazer when elected to her township's council and was mayor during an economically challenging time for Irvington.

Crime: Bost was indicted on five corruption counts, allegedly accepting $8,500 in kickbacks. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, while maintaining her innocence.

Time: Sentenced to a year in prison, Bost was incarcerated at "Camp Cupcake," when she became friendly with a fellow famous inmate.

Philip Giordano
Office: Waterbury, Conn., mayor, 1996 to 2001.

Highlights: Elected mayor in his early 30s, Giordano ran for U.S. Senate in 2000. He lost to the prominent incumbent.

Crime: Giordano was convicted of sexually abusing two preteen girls while he was mayor, including violating their civil rights and conspiring to arrange the liaisons.

Time: After blistering remarks from the judge, Giordano was sentenced to 37 years in prison. He is currently incarcerated.

Ed Mezvinsky
Office: U.S. representative from Iowa, 1973 to 1977.

Highlights: His son married into a powerful political family.

Crime: After Congress, Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to 31 counts of fraud, for tricking investors out of $10 million. His lawyers offered an unusual defense.

Time: In 2003, Mezvinsky was sentenced to six and a half years in prison. Is he out?

Marion Barry
Office: Washington, D.C., mayor, 1979 to 1991, 1995 to 1999.

Highlights: Love him or hate him, Barry has raised his city's profile. He boasts of revitalizing D.C.'s central neighborhoods and for creating job opportunities.

Crime: Shown smoking crack on a profanity-laden undercover video, Barry was arrested in 1990 and convicted of misdemeanor possession. In 2006, he was convicted of failing to file income tax returns. And he's had other legal run-ins.

Time: Barry received six months in prison for his drug bust. His IRS troubles resulted in probation, which was recently extended.

Buddy Cianci
Office: Providence, R.I., mayor, 1975 to 1984, 1991 to 2002.

Highlights: A popular mayor, Cianci made an appearance on TV's "Providence," and David Mamet is adapting Cianci's story for the big screen. This actor reportedly will play hizzoner.

Crime: In 1984, the mayor was convicted of assault, for using, among other things, a lit cigarette as a weapon. In 2002, Cianci was busted for another felony: racketeering.

Time: Both cases cost Cianci his mayor's job and landed him in prison. For the racketeering, he was incarcerated four and a half years.

Ted Kennedy
Office: U.S. senator from Massachusetts, 1962 to 2009.

Highlights: A powerful senator, Kennedy held his seat for decades, guided major legislation, and endorsed Sen. Barack Obama's nascent presidential bid.

Crime: Kennedy's career almost ended in 1969 when he and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, went off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. Kopechne drowned. Kennedy pleaded guilty to this charge.

Punishment: Kennedy received a two-month suspended sentence. Many pundits speculate that Chappaquiddick cost Kennedy his ultimate job. He died in 2009.

James Michael Curley
Office: Massachusetts governor, 1935 to 1937; Boston mayor, four nonconsecutive terms; U.S. representative from Massachusetts, 1911 to 1914, 1943 to 1947.

Highlights: Earning his scrappy nickname, Curley defeated both opponents and anti-Irish discrimination to win most of Massachusetts' top political jobs, except this one.

Crime: As a young man, Curley was convicted of fraud for taking a test for a friend. While mayor in 1947, he was convicted of graft in connection with federal contracts.

Time: Curley served prison time for both convictions. For the second, he remained mayor during his incarceration and was freed after five months. How'd he get out? Curley died in 1958.