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Ex-Arizona Lawmaker Gets 6-Month Term in Sting

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Former state legislator Sue Laybe wept Tuesday morning as a judge ordered her to serve six months in the county jail for her part in Arizona’s political corruption sting.

Laybe, 35, who accepted nearly $25,000 from a police informant posing as a gaming consultant, is the third former legislator to be sentenced in the case and the first ordered incarcerated.

The former Democratic representative from Phoenix tearfully apologized in court for her actions. In spite of her guilty pleas to charges of bribery and attempted bribery, she claimed Tuesday she was guilty of no more than campaign finance violations.

Laybe, who served in the Legislature from January, 1989, until her resignation in March, admitted she had accepted more than the $220-per-individual in campaign donations allowed by Arizona law and failed to report the sums in her disclosure statements. But she maintained she had not been bribed because she had always favored bringing casino gambling to Arizona.

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Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Ryan told Laybe that transcripts of nine meetings between her and undercover police agent Joseph Stedino showed Laybe asking for money and promising to support Stedino’s purported plan to bring casino gambling to the state. “You knew--you had to know--he was not a legitimate campaign contributor,” the judge said.

Ryan, who in April sentenced two other ex-lawmakers to probationary terms and ordered them to pay back the monies they had received, placed Laybe on probation for four years. He also ordered her to spend 600 hours in community service and to pay $14,960--the amount of money the authorities have not yet recovered from her.

The judge said Laybe deserved incarceration because of the number of times she had met with Stedino, the large amount of money she had taken from him and her attempt to launder $10,000 in cash through the Democratic Party.


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