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Creamer sentenced in rubber-check scheme

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The husband of an Illinois congresswoman was sentenced to five months in prison Wednesday. Robert Creamer is married to US Representative Jan Schakowsky. He was convicted on charges of writing bad checks and tax evasion.

This is a case that ends with both sides claiming to be disappointed with the sentence. Federal prosecutors wanted two-and-a-half to three years in prison for Creamer's blatant violations of the law, even after a visit from the FBI. Creamer's supporters wanted probation for a man who spent a lifetime fighting for social justice and broke the law so he could keep fighting for the causes he believed in.

"Of course I'm disappointed that the sentence imposed today includes a period of incarceration. But the judge is a fair and thoughtful man, and I accept his judgment," said Creamer.

Bob Creamer, the 58-year-old husband of North Shore Congresswoman Jan Schakowski, had the support of 200 influential friends who either showed in court Wednesday or inundated Judge James Moran with letters praising his lifelong commitment to social justice for the "little guy." They pleaded for probation instead of jail time, in part, because the investigation dragged on for nine years.

The judge said the letters, the delay and the fact that Creamer repaid $50,000 in back taxes to the government, $2 million in bad checks on multiple bank accounts, never profited personally from his illegality, and broke the law to keep his public action council in business, persuaded him to be lenient but not ignore the crimes. So the sentence is five months in prison and 11 months of very flexible home confinement, instead of two-and-a-half to three years in prison, which is what the government was asking for.

"I'm obviously disappointed that Bob's sentence included incarceration, but we accept the judge's decision and look forward to the day when we can finally put this nearly decade-long chapter behind us," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, (D)-Evanston.

Prosecutor Joe Ferguson said Creamer acted like he was above the law, continued his illegal activities even after a visit from the FBI, never took responsibility for his actions and deserves the maximum sentence, regardless of what or who he was fighting for.

"We are disappointed with the fact that the judge ordered a sentence of only five months of jail time. But today, Robert Creamer is guilty of multiple crimes and is going to jail for them," said Joe Ferguson, assistant US attorney.

Creamer's attorney calls him the most admirable client he has ever represented.

The feds are considering an appeal, because the sentence is so lenient, and Creamer will be able to travel to Washington D.C. on his consulting business even when he is on home confinement.

Creamer does political work for Governor Blagojevich. According to Illinois Republicans, that makes the Democrats a party of corruption. The governor's advisors are laughing at that one as they await a verdict in the corruption trial of former Republican Governor George Ryan.

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