NEW YORK — Rep. Mario Biaggi was sentenced today to 2 1/2 years in jail and fined $500,000 for illegally accepting free vacations from a political ally.
U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein said the congressman's crimes were "bred in greed and arrogance," but he took into consideration Biaggi's years in public service and the 70-year-old lawmaker's health problems.
The judge said he felt saddened in sentencing Biaggi because "I feel a great deal of affection for the defendant."
Biaggi could have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison and fined $750,000.
Biaggi was convicted of accepting a gratuity--a free vacation for himself and a woman companion--from former Brooklyn Democratic boss Meade Esposito in exchange for the congressman's efforts on behalf of Coastal Dry Dock, a Brooklyn ship-repair company that was a major client of Esposito's insurance brokerage firm.
He was also convicted of interstate travel to commit a crime and obstruction of justice.
Esposito, 80, was convicted of paying the illegal gratuities and illegal interstate travel. He was sentenced Oct. 23 by Weinstein to a two-year suspended prison term, a maximum fine of $500,000, two years' probation and 500 hours of community service.