Former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, one of the longest terms of incarceration ever imposed on a member of Congress, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle called Fattah’s theft of thousands of dollars from taxpayers and charitable organizations “astonishing” and “extremely serious,” especially for an elected official representing one of the poorest congressional districts in the country and one whose own $174,000-a-year salary put him among the “1 percent.” “You abused the trust they placed in you time and time again,” he said of the voters who elected Fattah 11 times to represent them in Washington. “Your flagrant behavior undermines the confidence of the citizenry in all public institutions.”
Fattah, who is appealing his conviction, expressed regret for how his conviction had affected his constituents, but stopped short of fully acknowledging guilt. His sentence fell below the 17 to 22 years recommended by prosecutors but remains the second-longest prison term ever received by a member of Congress, topped only by the 13 years former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) received in 2009 for soliciting millions of dollars in bribes.