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Jail for man who stole from Bloomberg

A political operative convicted of bamboozling Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced to prison Monday in a case that brought the billionaire politician to the witness stand and gave the public a behind-the-scenes look at his campaign and City Hall.

John Haggerty, 42, agreed to pay $750,000 in restitution to Bloomberg in addition to his prison term of 1 1/3 to 4 years.

Haggerty, a Republican campaign consultant, was convicted in October after a trial that jurors called a crash course in the workings of politics.

Besides the business mogul-turned-mayor, the case drew in the state's third-largest political party and featured a coterie of Bloomberg insiders sketching their roles in his political, philanthropic and business affairs.

"Since starting my career, I've worked hard to make a reputation in the world of politics and government as a dedicated, honorable individual. Today, my reputation is destroyed," Haggerty told the judge. "If I could do it all over again, I would certainly do it much differently than I did."

He walked out of court after state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel pronounced a sentence he said was necessary "to restore the public's confidence in the electoral process and to serve as a deterrent."

Haggerty's lawyers planned to ask an appeals court to free him on bail during appeals.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said Haggerty conned Bloomberg into putting up $1.1 million for an elaborate 2009 poll-monitoring effort by presenting aides with a detailed budget, complete with everything from two-way radios to 1,300 paid poll watchers.

-- AP

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