This just in.
Philadelphia City Councilman Rick Mariano is sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for being stupid.
Well, that's not technically the charge.
He was found guilty of soliciting about $25,000 in bribes from businessmen in his district. He used most of it to pay off credit card debts. Some of it he used to pay for membership at his health club.
In collecting the bribes, Mariano left a paper trail that was practically a super highway. It was so wide and deep the feds had no trouble following it.
Even though he had nearly a year between the time word of the investigation leaked and when the feds raided his office, Mariano never made an attempt to repay the "loans," as he alleged they were.
After the raid, Mariano went around telling aides, in so many words, I am guilty as hell. I did it. I took the money. Those aides later testified for the prosecution at the trial.
Finally, days before he was indicted, Mariano took to City Hall Tower and had to be talked down by Mayor Street (backed by a contigent of police). The fear was that he would commit suicide.
But, maybe the dumbest thing Mariano did was to throw away a political career and a job that paid $102,000 a year with a panoply of benefits and perks. Why? For credit card debts. For membership in the Sporting Club. For peanuts.
Mariano was lucky, in a way. The prosecutors wanted him sent away for 10 years.
Still, he wept in court at the sentencing hearing -- and begged the judge to let him do community service here or in Iraq.
The judge nixed the Iraq part. He picked the here part. And he made it jail.