Top Political Jailbirds

PHOTO: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick leaves federal court after being convicted March 11, 2013, in Detroit, of corruption charges.
Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/AP Photo

Corruption has plagued the world politics throughout history, and the United States is no exception. We take a look at five infamous politicians -- by no means an exhaustive list -- who were convicted of federal crimes and sentenced to time behind bars.

PHOTO: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick leaves federal court after being convicted March 11, 2013, in Detroit, of corruption charges.
Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/AP Photo
1.
Kwame Kilpatrick

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted March 11 on corruption charges, including racketeering conspiracy. The punishment could mean a maximum of 20 years behind bars for Kilpatrick.

Prosecutors during the trial said that Kilpatrick took bribes and administered a "private profit machine" from Detroit's City Hall.

Kilpatrick has declined to testify throughout his trial and has denied any wrongdoing.

Kilpatrick was elected to Detroit mayor in 2001 but resigned in 2008 following an affair with his chief of staff.

He previously spent 14 months in prison for a different case in which he pled guilty to obstruction of justice in the aftermath of his affair. Kilpatrick was convicted after a judge said he failed to report assets that could be put toward his $1 million restitution to Detroit.

PHOTO: Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr leaves federal court in Washington after he entered a guilty plea to criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to spend $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items, Feb. 20, 2013.
Cliff Owen/AP Photo
2.
Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in February 2013. The former Congressman was tried and convicted for his use of $750,000 in campaign funds for personal items, which included a Rolex watch and various celebrity memorabilia.

"I used money I shouldn't have used for personal purposes," Jackson tearfully told the court.

Jackson will be sentenced to prison on June 28, 2013 with and is expected to serve a sentence lasting anywhere from 46 to 57 months. Additionally, he will be required to pay penalties totaling between $10,000 and $100,000.

Jackson's father, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and other Jackson family members were in attendance when he received his sentence.

PHOTO: Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media following a guilty verdict in his corruption retrial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
3.
The Governors of Illinois

Illinois is a hotbed of political scandal. Of the state's last eight former governors, four of them have gone to prison on corruption charges.

Otto Kerner served two terms as governor of Illinois from 1960 to 1968 and later became a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. After leaving office, Kerner was indicted in 1971 on bribery charges after a discovery that he illegally profited from horse race track stock deals. He was convicted of bribery, conspiracy, tax evasion and perjury and sentenced to three years in federal prison. Kerner was released early when it was determined that he was suffering from terminal cancer.

Dan Walker served as governor between 1973 and 1977. In 1987, he was convicted as a businessman in a savings-and-loan fraud case. After pleading guilty to bank fraud and corruption charges, Walker was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and served 18 months. In January 2001, he requested a pardon from President Bill Clinton, who denied the request.

George Ryan, governor of Illinois from 1999 to 2003, is currently in prison after being convicted of corruption charges in 2006. A jury found Ryan guilty of 22 counts of fraud, racketeering, bribery, extortion and money laundering. He was also charged with lying to investigators and accepting gifts in return for actions once he took office.

In June 2011, a federal jury found former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich guilty of 17 counts of corruption, including his attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he was elected president in 2008. Before his trial, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to impeach Blagojevich for corruption and misconduct whole holding office. He was removed from office in 2009 in a unanimous vote, and was also banned for life from holding public office in the state of Illinois. Blagojevich could serve 10 years in prison, but he has not yet been sentenced.

PHOTO: Randall Cunningham, center, is helped by aides as he arrives at the federal courthouse in San Diego for sentencing on his conviction for bribery and tax evasion.
Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo
4.
Duke Cunningham

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., resigned from Congress in 2005 after pleading guilty to taking more than $2 million in bribes and under-reporting his income. He also pled guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion. Among the bribes Cunningham received were the free use of a yacht (the "Duke-Stir"), a Rolls-Royce, Persian carpets and a $2,000 contribution to his daughter's college graduation party.

Cunningham even priced the illegal services he provided, providing contractors with a "bribe menu" detailing how much it would cost to order multimillion-dollar government contracts, according to documents submitted by prosecutors during the hearing. He was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison and is scheduled to be released from the U.S. Penitentiary at Tuscson, Ariz., in June 2013.

PHOTO: Massachusetts state Sen. James Marzilli, right, listens to prosecutor Richard Mucci, during Marzilli's arraignment.
David H. Brow/AP Photo
5.
James Marzilli

The former member of the Massachusetts Senate was sentenced to three months in jail after he admitted to sexually harassing four women. His defense team argued that Marzilli was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that the alleged events all took place during a hypomanic state.

In 2011, he pled guilty to all four counts of "annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex," one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest. He approached all four women in one day after attending an event in Lowell, Mass., according to Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Dunigan.

Dunigan said he approached the first woman outside a community health center and said: "The sex is sweet, the sex is sweet, you want it and you want to go with me." Later, he allegedly walked behind another woman and said, "Oooh, baby, you are so beautiful," and made comments about her body. He allegedly drove by a third woman several times and asked her if she was wearing any underwear. Marzilli then sat on a bench beside a fourth woman, who accused Marzilli of attempting to grope her.

Marzilli did not have to register as a sex offender.

PHOTO: Marion Barry speaks at the Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast where he held a press conference apologizing for recommending a contract to a person he was involved with.
Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images
6.
Marion Barry

A 1998 Washington Post article said, "To understand the District of Columbia, one must understand Marion Barry." Barry, known for his celebrity and notoriety, served as the city's mayor from 1979 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1999. Now serving as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, Barry's campaign gained momentum from the significant leadership he demonstrated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

In 1990, Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaine and served six months in prison on drug charges. Despite the controversy, Barry was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and re-elected as mayor in 1995 following his release.

Following his political comeback, Barry was arrested in 2002 when traces of marijuana and cocaine reportedly were found in his car after he was stopped in southwest D.C. No charges were filed. In 2005, Barry pled guilty to charges stemming from an IRS investigation and was sentenced to three years probation for failing to pay federal and local taxes. Barry was arrested and charged with "misdemeanor stalking" in 2009 after his ex-girlfriend, political consultant Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, claimed he was stalking her. All charges were dropped. This year, Barry's car was booted outside his home as a result of nine unpaid parking tickets.

Despite Barry's multiple run-ins with the law, he has maintained his popularity and influence in the political and cultural arena of Washington, D.C.

PHOTO: Former House majority leader Tom Delay leaves the Travis County Jail after being sentence to three years in prison.
Getty Images
7.
Tom DeLay

After more than 20 years in office, Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to three years in prison in January 2011. DeLay represented Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1984 to 2006 and was the GOP House majority leader from 2003 to 2005, but he was forced to resign from his position in 2005 as a result of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant (season nine) was charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit laundering after a jury concluded that DeLay (known as "The Hammer") illegally diverted $190,000 in corporate donations through the Republican National Committee to GOP candidates in Texas.

DeLay was released on a $10,000 bond and was released on bail. He is still on bail and appeared in appeals court to appeal his case on 2012 but is still awaiting a resolution.

PHOTO: Providence R.I. mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr. speaks to the press regarding the death of actor Anthony Quinn in Bristol R.I.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images
8.
Buddy Cianci

Vincent "Buddy" Cianci is one of the longest-serving mayors in United States history and the longest-serving mayor of Providence, R.I. Cianci held office for 21 years, from 1975 to 1984 and again from 1991 to 2002, but was forced to resign twice because of felony convictions.

In 1984, he pled no contest to charges that he assaulted his estranged wife's lover with a lit cigarette, an ashtray and fireplace log. After his suspension, Cianci returned to office in 1991 and stepped down again in 2002 following his conviction of one count of federal racketeering conspiracy. The ex-mayor was sentenced to five years for supervising what the judge called a "criminal enterprise."

In 2011, Cianci published his memoir, "Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt a Dying City, Dined with Sinatra, Spent Five Years in a Federally Funded Gated Community, and Lived to Tell the Tale," in which he took a look back at his life and career.

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