Ex-USDA Official Gets Jail Time

Saying democracy relies upon honest public officials, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth Wednesday sentenced former Agriculture Secretary Espy's ex-chief of staff to an unusually harsh 27 months in prison for making false statements, the Associated Press reported.

Lamberth said he departed from sentencing guidelines that called for only probation for Ronald Blackley because the offenses were committed when Blackley was in a top government position of trust.

"This court has a duty to send a message to other high government officials that there is a penalty to be paid for making false statements under oath," Lamberth said.

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