Former NC mayor sentenced for corruption

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 3, 2014, file photo, former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, center, walks past the media as he leaves the federal courthouse in Charlotte, N.C. Cannon is scheduled to be sentenced, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in a federal corruption case, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The former mayor of North Carolina’s largest city was sentenced Tuesday to nearly four years in prison in a federal corruption case that spanned the time he was a councilman to when he took over in the executive office.

Patrick Cannon had resigned in the midst of the case that stunned Charlotte residents who had once elected him as their youngest councilman.

U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney in a courtroom just blocks from Cannon’s old office sentenced the 47-year-old to 44 months.

“You have seriously tarnished the city’s image,” Whitney said as he pronounced the sentence.

Cannon apologized for his wrongdoing.

“I have failed as a father, I have failed as a husband, I failed as a servant leader, and I failed as a citizen,” Cannon told the judge before he was sentenced.

He said he knows how much he has hurt his family and community, which is why he decided to cooperate from the beginning.

As he walked out of the courthouse, he said, “Hopefully, the community will be forgiving.”

In a deal with prosecutors, Cannon pleaded guilty in June to one count of honest services wire fraud. Prosecutors say Cannon accepted nearly $50,000 in bribes between January 2013, when he was a city councilman, and February 2014 — three months after he was elected mayor.

Cannon was arrested March 26 and resigned the same day.

He was elected to the city council in 1993 at 26, becoming the youngest member in Charlotte history. He was elected mayor in November 2013.

“I think the sentence is a very strong sentence that will send a message of deterrence,” U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins told reporters outside the courthouse.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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