Only now can I look back with a queer sense of respect.
I was sentenced on January 31, 2007 in a meagerly attended courtroom of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. After closing arguments by the prosecutors and my lawyers, I stood before the judge like a lamb going to slaughter. I made a final and tearful plea to the court. To my disbelief, the indifferent judge then read, signed, and handed my lawyers the sentencing papers. As a non-cooperating co-defendant, and a naive newcomer to the Chicago pay-to-play contracting business, I was given the maximum time for my plea bargain. I was devastated, standing before the court, feeling like a knife was twisting in my heart. The judge said he was making me an example to dissuade other business owners from participating in corrupt business practices.