(Aiken-AP) June 23, 2005 - Former Agriculture Commissioner Charles Sharpe has begun serving a two-year prison sentence for extortion and lying to a federal officer in connection with a cockfighting ring.
Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Carla Wilson says the 66-year-old Sharpe reported to the federal prison in Estill on Monday. Sharpe pleaded guilty earlier this year to taking $10,000 in 2002 from an organization involved in breeding and raising birds for cockfighting in exchange for helping the group avoid legal trouble.
US District Judge Cameron Currie allowed Sharpe to wait to report to prison until after his grandson graduated from high school.
The Republican served in the South Carolina House from 1985 until 2002. He was elected agriculture commissioner in 2002.