During a two-hour hearing, 10 witnesses tried fruitlessly to persuade U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh to spare former Police Chief Nate Harper from prison. She sentenced Harper to an 18-month term on conspiracy and tax charges, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. One of Harper’s daughters, Crystal, 38, a single mother of three, wept on the stand as she described how her father cared for her 7-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy. Harper’s wife, Cynthia, 59, a retired Pittsburgh police officer, said the past year has devastated her family.
When it was Harper’s turn to address the court, he said, “I’m a broken man. I will carry this to my grave.” Despite Harper’s remorse, despite the good he did over decades, despite his non-violent reputation and lack of criminal history, Bissoon said a prison sentence was warranted. She noted that he did not transgress once, but multiple times.