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'He has done more good than harm' | Stenger's lawyers request minimum prison sentence

Sentencing guidelines say Stenger should serve between 37 and 46 months in prison. His attorneys say he should only serve 37 months.
Credit: 5 On Your Side

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Lawyers for former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger are asking for a sentence of no more than 37 months, the minimum sentence available under sentencing guidelines.

A sentencing memorandum filed on Stenger's behalf Sunday said the former county executive's "history and characteristics show the statutory purposes of sentencing do not justify a sentence in excess of the low-end of this range."

Stenger pleaded guilty in May to three federal charges of theft of honest services, mail fraud and bribery in connection with five pay-to-play schemes that spanned from 2014 to 2019, according to federal prosecutors. Sentencing is set for Aug. 9.

The new memorandum comes two days after a 12-page memorandum from federal prosecutors said that no leniency should be used in the upcoming sentencing. 

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That memorandum said Stenger should get 37 to 46 months of imprisonment and "anything less would ignore the extent of the defendant's criminal conduct and the substantial harm defendant's conduct caused to the public."

That memorandum said Stenger used his position for his own personal gain, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations for his own benefit, hiring his "political cronies" and their family members to continue his pay-to-play scheme, and bullying his employees into committing illegal acts under the threat of being fired.

The document filed Sunday said anything more than 37 months would not be justified. The memorandum said a sentence longer than 37 months would not help in achieving the goals of sentencing: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation.

The memorandum cited his payment of restitution and a low risk of re-offense as reasons the sentence should remain on the low end of the guidelines.

"Though his offense is serious," the memorandum said, "on balance, Stenger has lived a pro-social, productive, and positive life in which he has done more good than harm in both his personal and professional lives."

Several associates and employees have also pleaded guilty in recent months.

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