Lawmaker, Supporters Herald Dismissal of Felonies

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker and his supporters have expressed joy at a plea deal that drops nearly 20 felony bank-fraud charges and let the Chicago Democrat plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago on Monday to delivering a false federal income tax return. It carries a maximum sentence of a year behind bars. Each felony count carried a 30-year maximum sentence.

Outside court, Ford smiled as he and his lawyers addressed reporters.

Attorney Thomas Durkin calls the plea deal “a tremendous result.” Ford said he’s “sorry” he “underestimated” his taxes.

Rev. Marshall Hatch is from Ford’s legislative district. He released a statement calling the outcome “great news.”

The dropping of all felonies in a federal case is rare. Prosecutors offered no explanation.

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