Former Texas State Rep. Jim Solis is headed to federal prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced the ex-Rio Grande Valley maker to three years and 11 months for his role in the Cameron County cash for court favors scandal.
Solis left Brownsville TMs federal courthouse flanked by family and friends just before 5 p.m. Friday.
Defense attorneys asked Judge Hanen to the former Harlingen lawmaker in a facility close to his family in South Texas.
Solis is expected to turn himself in to a federal prison once there is room available.
I Made A Mistake
Before handing down the sentence Judge Hanen spoke to Solis.
After everything is over, I think Solis will be an active and productive part of society, Hanen said in open court. Solis is paying a greater price than they thought he would.
Solis, pleaded guilty in April 2011 to aiding and abetting extortion for paying former 404th State District Judge Abel Limas for favorable rulings.
Hanen ordered Solis to pay $40,000 in restitution to Yolanda De Leon, Peter Zavaletta and Freedom Communication.
The restitution payment due to a defamation lawsuit in which Solis bribed Limas for a favorable ruling.
Solis addressed the court in tears.
I am sorry for what happened, Solis said between sob. I made a mistake and it should of never happened.
Worst Years Of My Life
Solis said in court that the last three years were the worst years of his life.
After a hard fall getting back up will define him, Solis said.
Yolanda De Leon also addressed the court in tears stating how much Solis TM conduct affected her life.
The former Cameron County district attorney said the damage Solis caused her is incalculable.
It caused public embarrassment and I couldn't even practice law anymore, De Leon said.
De Leon stated Solis TM redemption efforts did not start until after he got caught.
I Am Not A Menace
Our Lady of The Assumption Parish, Father Horacio Chavarria stated Solis showed remorse for what he did.
But De Leon countered the priest TMs testimony.
No amount of church going can do away with that, De Leon said. It was all about the money.
But Solis said he owned up to his wrongdoing.
I am not a menace and have cooperated with law enforcement, the former lawmaker said.