By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
In the federal charging document, the contributors are identified by their initials, along with the date and amount of their contributions. Their full names can be discerned by checking them against publicly available campaign-finance reports.
In total, Gill acknowledged making $67,000 in phony contributions to four federal campaigns, from 2003 to 2005. He was sentenced to a year and a day in federal custody and ordered to pay a fine of $200,000.
Both the case's federal prosecutor and Gill's defense attorney say they were unaware of any violations on the local level. The prosecutor, Dennis Mitchell, says it would be up to local authorities to prosecute such offenses.
Asked about the contributions to Cooley's campaign, Gill declined to comment. "What benefit do I have in having a phone call with you?" he asked, before hanging up.
Gill's sentence was relatively harsh, in large part because of his prior record. According to a pre-sentencing memo filed by prosecutors, Gill pleaded guilty in 1995 to participating in a real estate–fraud scheme that bilked 20 investors of more than $1 million.
He also was convicted for firing a gun at two Gas Company employees who had entered his property to collect on an unpaid bill in the amount of $1,100. Gill said he had emptied his gun in an effort to scare off the intruders.
He was sentenced to five years in state prison for the crimes and served more than two years.
In his sentencing memo, Gill's attorney Marc Harris described him as an immigrant success story: He started as a New York taxi driver and worked his way up to a PhD in clinical psychology. Gill also is a contributor to many charitable causes and was moved to make political contributions by his fervent patriotism, attorney Harris wrote.
"In his zeal to participate in a political process in this country that has been so good to him, he got carried away. His misguided efforts to participate in the political process and to support his president were wrong and they were illegal, but they were not sinister."
Like O'Donnell's attorneys, Gill's lawyers have argued in court that such violations are often not prosecuted, and generally are handled administratively — if they are punished at all.
In addition to the contributions to Cooley's campaign, Gill's generosity extended to the district attorney himself. Just before Christmas 2004, Gill sent Cooley a wine-and-cheese basket. According to Cooley's financial-disclosure statement, the gift was worth $130.
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