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Former aide to Rep. Jefferson gets 8 years

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 27 (UPI) -- A former aide to Rep. William Jefferson has been sentenced in Virginia to eight years in prison for conspiring to bribe the embattled Louisiana Democrat.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III told Brett Pfeffer that his sentence could be significantly lowered for cooperation with investigators, the Washington Post reported.

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"It would be difficult to overstate the seriousness of this offense," Ellis said at Friday's hearing in Alexandria, Va.

Pfeffer pleaded guilty in January. He admitted then that he went along with Jefferson's demand for a 5 percent to 7 percent share of the $3.5 million that his boss, Lori Mody, planned to invest in telecommunications ventures in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria.

Mody became suspicious of Jefferson's role in the deal and went to the FBI, agreeing to wear a recording device.

Jefferson has not yet been charged with any crime. The FBI raided his office on Capitol Hill last week, a move that has outraged Congressional leaders from both parties.

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