Ex-US Rep. Swindall of Ga. sentenced to probation

Former U.S. Rep. Pat Swindall has been sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to three misdemeanor counts of being involved in illegal campaign contributions.

The Daily Report says in its Friday edition (http://bit.ly/pBWfJv ) that Swindall was sentenced on Aug. 26 in an alleged scheme to funnel $8,000 in campaign contributions to former Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd.

The newspaper reports that prosecutors agreed to drop felony charges in return for Swindall's guilty pleas to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit a crime and two counts of exceeding the maximum allowable campaign contribution.

The sentence came after Swindall and prosecutors agreed to an "Alford plea," a legal maneuver that lets Swindall maintain his innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence against him.

Swindall represented a suburban Atlanta district from 1985 to 1989. He later served one year in federal prison after he was convicted in 1992 of perjury.

Swindall attorney Paul Kish claimed his client was targeted by prosecutors because of his notoriety. He said it was a "ludicrous prosecution to begin with."

Fulton County District Attorney said Swindall's "alleged celebrity status had no bearing on our decision."

Swindall, 60, was charged with giving $8,000 to two associates and then ordering them to recruit straw donors to write checks to Sheperd for $1,000, which was then the legal limit for campaign contributions. Authorities say Sheperd discovered the funds actually came from Swindall in June 2007 and contacted Howard's office.


Information from: the Fulton County Daily Report, http://www.dailyreportonline.com