SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former San Diego city councilman convicted in 2005 of taking bribes from a Las Vegas strip club owner seeking to overturn San Diego's "no-touch" ordinance must begin serving his 21-month prison sentence by the end of the month, a judge ruled Friday.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of ex-councilman Ralph Inzunza, who was convicted in July 2005 of extortion, wire fraud and conspiracy. He was sentenced five months later by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller.
Inzunza has been free for the past 6 1/2 years while appealing his conviction.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat told the judge that Inzunza should start serving his sentence Friday, but Miller gave Inzunza until Jan. 30 to surrender.
"He was accused and convicted of selling his office," Wheat told reporters outside the federal courthouse. Inzunza will serve his time at a low-level satellite camp at Atwater Penitentiary in Merced County.
Two other San Diego city councilmen, Michael Zucchet and Charles Lewis, were also indicted in the case, along with Cheetah's strip club owner Michael Galardi and his lobbyist, Lance Malone.
Zucchet was convicted of nine charges for accepting campaign contributions in exchange for repealing the "no-touch" ordinance. Miller eventually threw out seven of Zucchet's convictions and the other two were later dismissed.
Lewis died in August 2004 from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Malone was sentenced to three years in prison and Galardi served 18 months behind bars.
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