Ex-South Florida Congressional Candidate Justin Lamar Sternad Seeks Probation

Sternad, who is to be sentenced June 11, wants probation for his cooperation in an investigation surrounding ex-Congressman David Rivera's re-election bid

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    NBC 6 South Florida
    Justin Lamar Sternad

    A former South Florida congressional candidate is seeking probation for his cooperation in a federal investigation surrounding the failed re-election bid of Republican ex-Congressman David Rivera.

    The attorney for Justin Lamar Sternad said in court papers filed Tuesday that his client was a pawn in a bigger political game. Attorney Rick Yabor says Sternad has come clean with authorities and should not serve any time in prison.

    Under federal sentencing guidelines Sternad faces between 12 and 18 months behind bars. Federal prosecutors also recommend leniency when Sternad is sentenced June 11.

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    Justin Sternad, 35, was charged Friday with conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws, making false statements and accepting illegal contributions. Defense attorney Rick Yabor said he can't comment.

    Sternad pleaded guilty in March to three charges. The investigation involves allegations that Rivera secretly financed Sternad's Democratic primary campaign to weaken eventual winner Joe Garcia, who nevertheless defeated Rivera.

    Rivera has repeatedly denied the accusations.

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