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Nathanson sentenced in capital corruption probe

By DION NISSENBAUM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Former California Coastal Commissioner Mark Nathanson was sentenced Tuesday to more than 4 years in federal prison for seeking bribes from major Hollywood figures.

He also was ordered to pay $200,000 in fines and restitution on racketeering and money laundering charges.

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U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered Nathanson to serve 57 months in a minumum security prison, pay $84,000 in fines and another $116,000 in restitution to a San Diego developer who paid the commissioner for his help. Nathanson, 54, also was ordered to serve a concurrent 36 months in prison. His defense attorneys immediately filed an appeal.

Nathanson pleaded guilty in June to soliciting nearly $1 million in bribes from Hollywood stars and others seeking development permits before the 12-member commission charged with protecting the state's coastline.

He admitted using his post to solicit $975,000 in bribes on a dozen occasions. Nathanson was appointed to the commission in 1986 and he served until last year when he was indicted by a federal grand jury.

Prosecutors said Nathanson attempted to solicit bribes from Hollywood figures, including actor Sylvester Stallone, director Blake Edwards and former Fox Inc. Chairman Barry Diller. Authorities said all three refused to pay.

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Before being sentenced, an admittedly nervous Nathanson said he accepted full responsibility for his actions.

'I apologize to the people of California, the government and the court,' he said. 'I am fully repentant and ashamed. Profusely ashamed. '

Nathanson and his attorneys left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

The Beverly Hills real estate broker was one of several politicians caught in the capital corruption probe that led to the conviction of former state Senator Alan Robbins. Robbins is currently serving a five- year sentence in federal prison on corruption charges.

Both Robbins and Nathanson were charged with soliciting $238,000 in bribes from San Diego businessman Jack Naiman, who had a project before the coastal commission in 1986. Under the plea agreement worked out in the case, Naiman will receive $116,000 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Robert Twiss said Nathanson's sentence could be reduced in the next year if he decides to cooperate with the ongoing corruption probe.

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