PENSACOLA — Florida developer Jay Odom was sentenced to six months in federal prison Tuesday for lying about illegal contributions he made in the 2008 presidential primary.
U.S. District Judge Lacy Collier told Odom that his crime went to the heart of the nation's election system. Collier said he sentenced Odom to prison and levied a $46,000 fine because of the seriousness of the crime. Collier said he hoped the sentence would also serve as a deterrent to others who might consider tampering with election laws.
Odom's supporters sat on the front row of the courtroom and some cried as Collier announced his sentence.
Odom, who owns Destin Jet, had faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to making false statements about illegally funneling $23,000 to the campaign of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Prosecutors said he circumvented federal campaign finance laws by repaying 10 associates who each gave a maximum $2,300 donation to Huckabee.
The indictment in the campaign-finance case came after Odom's dealings with former Republican Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom over an airplane hangar helped lead to Sansom's resignation. Samson resigned after allegations surfaced that he used state money to build an airplane hangar for Odom. Criminal charges in that case were eventually dropped.
Odom apologized in court on Tuesday.