Ex-Councilwoman Convicted in Bribery Case Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

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CLEVELAND (AP) – Federal authorities say a former county councilwoman found guilty of accepting bribes in exchange for trying to influence court proceedings and investigations in Ohio has been sentenced to five years in prison.

A federal prosecutor’s office says 58-year-old Tamela Lee, of Akron, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. A jury earlier found the former Summit County councilwoman guilty on charges including conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents.

Prosecutors alleged Lee took cash, home improvements and other services from Akron-area businessmen for helping obtain a bond for one of the businessmen’s criminal charges and helping cut through governmental red tape.

The defense argued Lee innocently sought help from friends.

Lee’s attorney declined to comment Thursday.