Tennessee Waltz defendant sentenced to 3 years in prison

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The first of the Tennessee Waltz public corruption sting defendants to fight the charges in court was sentenced today to three years in prison.

Former Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton was ordered by a federal judge in Chattanooga to report to prison by June fifth.

The February conviction could have brought Cotton up to 40 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Cotton is one of seven elected officials to be indicted in the probe. Five are or were state lawmakers.

Former State Representative Chris Newton of Cleveland reported to prison three weeks ago to serve his one-year sentence. Newton pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe in the investigation.

Undercover agents sought favors from government officials while pitching deals on behalf of E-Cycle Management, a fake company created by the FBI to buy and sell used computers.

Others awaiting trials on bribery and extortion charges are state Senator Kathryn Bowers of Memphis, Senator Ward Crutchfield of Chattanooga and former senators Roscoe Dixon and John Ford -- both of Memphis.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)