Developer Basim Sabri was sentenced to 33 months in prison Thursday for offering a bribe to a former Minneapolis City Council member in exchange for his help with a hotel project.
As part of the sentencing agreement, Sabri had to admit his guilt in an appearance before U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle.
"I am proud, but I did make a mistake," he said. "I apologize for my friends and family and colleagues that I will be away from."
Dozens of friends and family members were in the courtroom to lend their support.
A jury convicted Sabri last December on three bribery counts. Prosecutors say that Sabri offered three different bribes in 2001, totaling $95,000, to former council member Brian Herron in exchange for Herron's help with zoning, licensing and other issues connected to a proposed hotel development on Lake Street.
An FBI surveillance camera caught Sabri giving $5,000 to Herron, who later resigned from the council, pleaded guilty to extortion and served a year at a federal prison camp.
Kyle also ordered Sabri, 45, of Shorewood, to pay a $75,000 fine and to report to start serving his sentence June 30.
His lawyer asked that Sabri be sent to the minimum security prison camp in Yankton, S.D., so that he can receive treatment for alcohol abuse and get credit for going through the program. Kyle said the Bureau of Prisons will decide where Sabri goes, which could be Yankton or a more secure facility in Waseca.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)