NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted on public corruption charges last year.
McCabe learned his sentence on Friday in federal court in Norfolk. The maximum sentence could have been more than 200 years in prison, and prosecutors had asked for 20, WAVY’s Jon Dowding reports. He will also have three years on supervised release. He also could be released on good behavior after serving 85% of his sentence, which is roughly 10 years.
He was convicted last August on all 11 charges he faced, including conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, honest services mail fraud, conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, obtaining property under color of official right, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
From 1994 to 2016, McCabe took bribes from two jail vendors and the companies’ CEOs in exchange for favorable multi-million-dollar jail contracts.
In a statement to the court before his sentencing, McCabe said in part:
McCabe’s defense attorney James Broccoletti says he believes the court was fair in their sentencing today.
“I thought the court was fair in its consideration. I thought the court understood our argument in terms of balancing,” he said.
McCabe’s family broke into tears when he entered the courtroom, walking into with a walker and having to use hearing aids.
Broccoletti says his time in solitary, protective custody has had a major impact on his health in the last nine months since he was found guilty.
“He has lesions all over his body, open sores,” Broccoletti. “He’s got a walker, he’s fallen several times. He’s hit his head. He’s early Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s very difficult.”
Two character witnesses also took the stand before U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued her sentence.
A lieutenant colonel with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office spoke fondly about McCabe, who hired her back in 1996. She said McCabe took her under his wing and put passion and care in the inmate’s needs as well as programming to help them while incarcerated.
McCabe’s cousin, a bishop in the Anglican Union Church, spoke about his experience growing up with McCabe in the same household after McCabe’s parents divorced.
He now says he serves as his priest and they talk weekly. He says no one is a saint and says McCabe has acknowledged he made a mistake.
“Bob will move forward, come what may,” he said.
Allen thanked him for his service, before explaining her decision.
She said she knows he’s not all bad, citing his work to improve conditions in the Norfolk City Jail as well as work he did giving thousands of local kids the chance to try different sports through nonprofits he established.
Still, she brought up how after a three-week trial, it only took the jury five and a half hours to reach a verdict. She said the testimony showed he was “the king” inside the jail, a king some loved and many feared.
The first factor she looked at was what she says was his profound break of public trust, saying working in public service is a privilege and not a right.
She broke down the number of bribes he took every year, based on evidence from the trial, saying he took over 193 bribes from 2000 to 2016 as part of what she called a sophisticated and intricate conspiracy.
He took bribes of cash, travel, entertainment, gift cards, catering, personal gifts, and campaign contributions. In exchange, he took official actions that favored certain vendors — such as a food services company and medical services provider — and their contracts with the city jail.
Before issuing her sentence, she addressed a notion presented by McCabe for his actions where he and his defense said it was a mistake or error.
She said it wasn’t a mistake; it was a crime carried out for a long time.
Broccoletti says McCabe’s family finally has some closure.
“I think that it’s a significant, significant, step for them to move forward. To know what there is and what they’re facing and then to make, to have steps to cope with it.,” he said.
Broccoletti says he filed an appeal in court Friday afternoon after the sentencing was issued.