Former SC Treasurer sentenced to 10 months

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - Former South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for a drug conviction, but a judge did not immediately send Ravenel to prison.

US District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. agreed to delay Ravenel going to prison for five months to give prosecutors and defense attorneys time to present more evidence on his cooperation with authorities. The judge says that evidence could possibly lessen his sentence.

Ravenel showed no reaction.

In a sentencing report, Anderson says authorities found Ravenel had been using cocaine since he was 18 and his use escalated in the months before he was elected treasurer.

Taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for the legislative session called to choose a new treasurer. Judge Joe Anderson ruled that almost $29,000 in costs could be deducted from Ravenel's $250,000 fine and paid back to the state.

Ravenel had faced as many as 20 years in prison.

More than six months have passed since he pleaded guilty.

Last September, the former state treasurer admitted using cocaine off and on for at least two years, often during parties at his home. Friday's hearing brought out new details indicating Ravenel had been experimenting with a variety of drugs including marijuana, LSD and ecstasy since his teen years.

He apologized to the court and the state.

"I just want everyone to know from the start I've accepted responsibility," he said. "I'm cooperating with the government and I'm looking very forward to putting this sad chapter behind me and moving forward. And again, I'm very remorseful for my behavior."

The co-defendant of the former South Carolina Treasurer was also sentenced to 10 months in prison for two drug convictions.

Michael Miller had faced up to 40 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and an additional drug distribution charge unrelated to Ravenel.

His attorney says he will be credited for already serving about three months in jail.

Miller's attorney had to explain why his client - out on bond - ended up fighting with a police officer who found him passed out at a Waffle House in Mount Pleasant last November.

Ravenel's defense had no such problem, saying he'd been completely cooperative after SLED and FBI agents confronted him in June at the State House.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Updated by Chantelle Janelle

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