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Former Detroit City Council member receives 2 years for taking bribes

Courtesy photo

A former Detroit City Council member received a two-year prison sentence on Wednesday for accepting bribes meant to influence his vote.

Andre Spivey pleaded guilty to accepting more than $35,000 in bribes. The bribes came from a confidential source in Detroit’s towing industry, and undercover federal agents.

Spivey resigned from the Council after his guilty plea in September. His indictment revealed a broader FBI investigationinto corruption in Detroit’s towing industry, including among police officers.

Spivey’s lawyer argued that the former councilman never actually voted on the towing issues, so he should get probation, not prison time.

Judge Victoria Roberts disagreed. She said the corruption began when Spivey “sold his soul and his vote.” She said prison time was necessary to discourage more political corruption.

Former City Council member Gabe Leland had been sentenced to probation in a similar scheme, Spivey's supporters pointed out. But Roberts rejected that reasoning, noting that Leland was convicted of misconduct in office, not bribery, and was sentenced in state court.

Roberts did give Spivey a lighter sentence than prosecutors asked for. And she agreed to let him start his sentence in July, so Spivey can see his daughter graduate from high school.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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