Associated Press

Union Cited in Election Fraud Plan

By Larry Neumeister
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, March 14, 2000

NEW YORK -- The political director for ousted Teamsters President Ron Carey was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison by a judge who credited him for good deeds done prior to his embezzlement and fraud conviction.

U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa said it would be "unreasonable and unmerciful" not to credit William W. Hamilton for his devotion to public service and civil rights throughout a 30-year career.

The judge said he strayed somewhat from the federal sentencing guidelines calling for a nearly four-year prison term as he is permitted to do for extraordinary public service.

Hamilton was convicted of authorizing $885,000 in contributions to four political organizations in 1996 in exchange for contributions to Carey's 1996 re-election campaign. Prosecutors said the contributions were staggering considering the union was nearly broke.

Carey narrowly defeated James P. Hoffa in the election, which was overturned after investigators found Carey's campaign improperly benefited from donations the union made to organizations. "Mr. Hamilton did not initiate that concept but he agreed to play a role in it and his role was crucial," Griesa said. "He was, in effect, the gatekeeper."

Hamilton, 57, was convicted in November of embezzlement, mail and wire fraud and perjury. He told Griesa that his crimes were meant to help keep the union out of the hands of those who had corrupted it in the past.

"Sometimes when you try to do something you believe in deeply, you do dumb things, you cross the line, you overreach," he said. "I am ashamed and deeply angry at myself," he said.

© Copyright 2000 The Associated Press

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