Disgraced former senator Vince Fumo tried to convince a federal judge today that his 55-month sentence and restitution has been punishment enough for his host of crimes.
Fumo was convicted in 2009 of defrauding the state Senate, the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania and the Independence Seaport Museum out of millions of dollars. He will be resentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Buckwalter, who previously sentenced Fumo, but had that sentence overturned by a federal appeals court.
Prosecutors are asking for at least a 15-year sentence, while defense attorneys are seeking a sentence similar to the original one.
After prosecutors and Fumo's defense attorneys gave closing arguments, Fumo stood before Buckwalter at a podium as fiancee Carolyn Zinni, two of his children and other friends and supporters looked on.
The 68-year-old Fumo took about an hour detailing his treatment in prison, his desire to spend time with his family, why he wrote those vitriolic e-mails in prison and more.
"I'm tired, depressed; all I want is peace," said Fumo, bearded and clad in a green prison jumpsuit. "Prison is not an easy place to be, even in a camp. I no longer own my own body."
Fumo described incarceration as a "traumatic event," including things such as strip searches, solitary confinement, limited phone privileges, bad food and uncomfortable furniture. He also seemed to try to justify some of the perjury charges he was convicted of.
"Judge, my testimony probably differed with the prosecutor's version of the facts, but it was not perjurious. It was not meant to be and I submit that it wasn't."
He later commented on the fraud charges, saying "I'm not a dumb guy. If I thought I was commiting a crime would I have put it in a thousand e-mails? I don't think so. I wouldn't have done that. Was I, as they say, arrogant and got used to power? Perhaps I did."
Fumo closed by talking about his accomplishments, which has been the subject of much discussion during the trial and sentencing in determining whether he should receive a lighter sentence.
"I may be viewed as an evil person. Regrettably, I don't agree with that assessment. I did a lot of good for a lot of people. There a lot of people today who have lives who wouldn't have had them if it were not for me," he said.