Ex-Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland was sentenced Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court to two and a half years probation for taking cash campaign contributions in violation of state law.
Leland told the judge he "crossed a line" when he took money, Fox 2 reports. He was also ordered to pay $1,300 in court costs. To assure public accountability, state law prohibits candidates from taking campaign cash.
"Again, I apologize to my family and my constituents and the citizens of Detroit," said Leland, 38, who appeared at sentencing via Zoom. "Now it's time to reinvent myself and press the reset button."
Judge Gregory Dean Bill told Leland he could face five years behind bars if he violates probation. He rejected a defense request for one year of probabtion, saying that "would be a mere slap on the hand and would violate the people’s trust," Metro Times. reports.
Leland originally was charged in 2018 with bribery in federal court for taking $7,500 in cash and free car repairs in exchange for his vote on a land transaction involving businessman Bob Carmack.
Subsequently, defense attorney Steve Fishman of Detroit brokered a deal for him to face a lesser charge in state court in lieu of federal charges.
In federal court, it was more likely Leland would have served prison time had he pleaded or been convicted. One potential problem in federal court was that Carmack, who has his own legal problems, may have been a problematic government witnesses in the case against Leland.