Ex-senator avoids prison time for taking bribe

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Former state Sen. Ward Crutchfield no longer has a prison sentence hanging over his head.

He's just been sentenced to two years of probation but no prison time for taking a $3,000 bribe.

Judge J. Daniel Breen of Memphis sentenced the ailing 79-year-old to six months of home confinement and a $3,000 fine.

The judge said during Thursday's hearing that he considered the Chattanooga Democrat's heart problems in handing down the sentence.

Crutchfield pleaded guilty in July to taking the bribe from an FBI agent posing as a dishonest businessman seeking a change in state law. He was one of five former lawmakers convicted in the sting operation.

Crutchfield did not comment for reporters after the sentencing, but told the judge he had done some "stupid things."

Breen said it was a "serious and sad occasion."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)