A New York-based publisher who concealed from Congress the funding source for conferences in the Caribbean was sentenced today to two years of probation.
Karl Rodney pleaded guilty to a false statements charge in April in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Rodney owns and operates Carib News, a weekly paper for Caribbean-Americans in the New York metropolitan area.
Prosecutors alleged Rodney, 73, neglected to tell Congress that major corporations funded conferences in 2007 and in 2008 in the Caribbean at which member of Congress attended.
Rodney, according to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, solicited financial support from the corporations, which provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for the conferences. Rodney reported to Congress that his foundation was the sole sponsor for the congressional members’ trips.
Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington federal district court ordered Rodney to pay a $2,500 fine and to perform 500 hours of community service. Rodney faced an advisory sentencing range of zero to six months in prison for the offense.
A lawyer for Rodney, Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree Jr., said in court papers this month that probation was an appropriate sentence. Rodney “has sought to experience every aspect of the American Dream, and has completely and unequivocally acknowledged his wrongdoing.”
Numerous lawyers, political officials and at least one celebrity submitted letters to the judge urging him not to punish Rodney with a prison sentence.