Decker Sentenced To Four Years

Former state lawmaker Michael Decker was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiring to help former House Speaker Jim Black retain his position in the Legislature.

The sentence came after lawyers for both sides asked him to show leniency in sentencing Decker.

Decker pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy, saying he took a 50-thousand dollar bribe from Black to switch parties. The move led to Black retaining control of the speaker's chair.

Decker admitted last year that he solicited and accepted 50-thousand dollars to support Black for House speaker in early 2003.

Decker was a Republican, but he switched to the Democratic Party in a move that helped Black win re-election as co-speaker. Decker later switched back to the G-O-P but was defeated in his re-election bid.

Decker and prosecutors say Black agreed to the bribe, a claim Black has denied, even as he resigned his House seatand entered pleas to state and federal corruption charges.