INDIANAPOLIS -- Phillip E. Gutman, once the most powerful man in the Indiana Senate, was sentenced Thursday to three years in federal prison for taking bribes to influence railroad legislation.
The former Indiana Senate president pro tem, who was also fined $10,000, was sentenced amid new allegations he received nearly $1 million from a municipal bonding company.
The allegations were made by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Darst in a sentencing memorandum to U.S. District Judge James E. Noland.
Gutman was released on his own recognizance pending an appeal. He stood quietly before the bench as he was sentenced and made no comment to reporters afterwards.
Noland said he felt the facts of the case required that Gutman be imprisoned despite a number of glowing character recommendations he had received.
'The court has read through the approximately 60 letters, and all of them gave him their unqualified support,' Noland said. 'I cannot help but be influenced by what I've read and heard, but facts are not something that can be separated and pulled apart.'
Gutman was convicted March 11 of conspiring with two other former Republican senate presidents pro tem to extort $53,000 in bribes from the Indiana Railroads Association.
Prosecutors said the three took money in return for helping repeal a law which required trains to add crewmen when passing through Indiana.
Gutman could have received a total of 40 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.