Former House speaker sentenced to more than 5 years in prison

RALEIGH (AP) — Former House Speaker Jim Black has been sentenced to more than five years in prison on federal charges.

US District Court Judge Terrence Boyle also fined Black 50-thousand dollars on the charges, which said Black illegally took cash from chiropractors while promoting their agenda.

Boyle could have sentenced the Mecklenburg County Democrat to six-and-a-half years in prison, but he rejected prosecutors' requests for a harsher sentence.

Assistant US Attorney John Bruce asked for a longer prison term, arguing Black did more damage than two of his political associates who have also pleaded guilty in public corruption cases.

The 72-year-old Black apologized in court to his colleagues, family and the state for what he called his "stupid mistakes." He had plead guilty in February.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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