Ex-City Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott seeks probation for bribery
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Former Cleveland City Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott has asked a federal judge to sentence her to probation for taking bribes while in office.
While acknowledging Scott’s violation of the public trust, defense lawyer Virginia Davidson argued in an eight-page court filing that her client’s crime was a “brief and uncharacteristic exception” to the way she has lived.
“Mrs. Scott does not minimize her violation of the public trust,” Davidson wrote. “She feels the full shame of the seriousness of her offense. She has accepted responsibility. She has continued to cooperate with the authorities in every way.”
Scott, 54, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko. Federal sentencing guidelines call for her to receive from eight to 14 months in prison.
To date, all of the elected officials who have been convicted as part of the biggest public corruption investigation in the region’s history have been sentenced to prison terms. Twelve other defendants have received probation or house arrest.
Scott has admitted taking a $2,000 cash bribe from electrical contractor Michael Forlani and soliciting a job for her son from Forlani’s company at the time while representing Ward 8 on the City Council.
In exchange for the job and the money, Scott used her council position to assist with a $125 million project Forlani was undertaking near the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in University Circle, located in her East Side ward.
Since then, Davidson noted in her court filing, Scott has earned a master’s degree in social administration from Case Western Reserve University and won the school’s Louis Stokes Fellowship Award.
Davidson also noted that Scott is working at Cornucopia Place, a community kitchen and meeting space in the Kinsman neighborhood, and is caring for a 6-year-old granddaughter.
And she cares daily for her 28-year-old son, Randell Jr., who still is recovering after being shot and wounded by Cleveland police in September 2012.
At the time, police reported seeing a man, later identified as Randell Jr., walking with an open beer just after midnight near East 93rd Street and Parmalee Avenue. Officers stopped him and discovered he had a gun in his waistband. He was told to keep his hands in the air, according to the police statement. He complied but eventually lowered one of his hands and was shot in the abdomen.
A police spokeswoman said Wednesday that the incident remains under investigation.