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Whitewater's Hubbell gets 21-month sentence

Webster Hubbell, a confidant of President Clinton and the former No. 3 official at the Justice Department, got 21 months in prison Wednesday for stealing from clients at the law firm where he and Hillary Rodham Clinton were partners.

Hubbell becomes the first former government official sentenced to prison in the 18-month-long Whitewater investigation.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. rejected the former associate attorney general's claim that his charitable acts made him eligible for a reduced sentence. Hubbell had asked for less than 16 months; federal guidelines called for 21 to 27.

Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr spoke glowingly of Hubbell's contributions to his community and country but said nothing of the defendant's cooperation with the Whitewater investigation. Prosecutors also didn't mention that many of Hubbell's charitable acts were paid for with money he stole.

Howard ordered Hubbell to repay $135,000 of the $482,410 he stole and spend three years on probation after his release from prison. After his release, Hubbell must lecture inmates on the value of family and education.

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