Former Speaker Fined $1 Million, Sentenced To 10 Months In Jail

A judge has fined former state House Speaker Jim Black a million dollars and sentenced him to up to ten months in prison on state political corruption charges.

And Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens gave Black less than five months to come up with the money.

Stephens also sentenced Black to up to ten months in prison, with the term to run concurrently with a federal five-year sentence Black began yesterday after pleading guilty to a federal corruption charge.

Stephens told the court that he thought the federal government has taken care of taking away the power and influence, and that his sentence would take away the money.

Earlier today, Black admitted in court that he gave ten thousand dollars to a former lawmaker who helped him stay in power.

But Black also told the judge he did not give money to former Republican Representative Michael Decker in exchange for his vote. Black says the money was a gift to a destitute man living in a van.

Prosecutors say Black gave Decker thousands of dollars to switch political parties in 2003 and Decker later cast the deciding vote that allowed Black to be co-speaker.

Black entered an Alford plea to state charges of bribery and obstruction of justice in February. He surrendered to federal officials yesterday to begin serving a five-year sentence for accepting money from chiropractors while pushing their agenda.