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Ex-Detroit councilman gets probation for misconduct charge

DETROIT (AP) — A former Detroit city councilman was sentenced Monday to 2 1/2 years of probation after pleading guilty last month to accepting an illegal cash campaign contribution.

Gabe Leland, 38, admitted before he was sentenced by Wayne County Circuit Judge Gregory Bill that he had “crossed a line.” He also apologized to his family and those who had voted for him.

The Democrat had pleaded guilty in May to misconduct in office and resigned from his council seat representing Detroit’s District 7. Court documents have said he accepted an illegal $7,500 cash campaign contribution.

A federal grand jury indicted Leland in 2018 on corruption charges tied to $15,000 in bribes and free auto body work solicited and accepted from a business owner in return for help on a property issue.

The federal charges will be dismissed as part of Leland’s plea agreement in the state misconduct case.

“The court has been convinced to go along with this fair disposition, and in light of your resignation from the Detroit City Council, you’re not in a position to breach the trust of the people,” Bill said during sentencing.

But the judge said that if Leland violates the terms of his probation period, he could face five years in prison.

Leland told the court that while few people have the opportunity to serve in elected office, he was honored to do so for 15 years.

“But I crossed the line,” he said during the Zoom court hearing.

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