MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A woman tied to former Congressman David Rivera has been released from federal detention.
Walking out in her brown prison uniform Ana Alliegro told CBS4 News she was happy to see the sunshine again and plans to spend time with family. She also apologized.
“I apologized for my actions, I stepped up and took that responsibility. I do owe the voters an apology and my government and I did that in court and I’m doing that,” said Alliegro.
“I don’t wish it upon anyone,” said Alliegro.
Last month, Alliegro accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to four counts of campaign finance violations in federal court. Alliegro, who was a close associate of Rivera, reportedly funneled about $80,000 to an unknown Democratic congressional candidate, Justin Lamar Sternad, who was running in the 2012 primary for the chance to challenge GOP incumbent Rivera in Florida’s 26th congressional district.
Prosecutor Thomas Mulvihill had sought a year in prison, defense attorney John Bergendahl asked that she be released with credit for time served.
On Wednesday, Judge Rober Scola sentenced Alliegro to time served, six months house arrest and two years of supervised release. Alliegro has been in jail for six months and four days.
During the hearing Mulvihill told Scola that Alliegro had spoken with them and said “it was David Rivera who told her to contact Sternad and funds came from David Rivera.”
Rivera has been listed as “co-conspirator A” in prosecution papers but has never been charged. He has denied any wrong doing.
In handing down his sentence Scola said “Mr. Rivera should be held most responsible. The man should come forward and not the let the woman take the blame.”
Scola quickly cautioned, however, that statement was his observation and should not to be taken into account on his ruling.
“I would rather not talk about David’s involvement,” said Alliegro.
Outside the courthouse Alliegro’s father, Anselmo, was careful with his words before the television cameras. Off camera, however, he made it clear that he believes Rivera is less than a man because he allowed his daughter to take the fall in a federal conspiracy scheme.
“I know who should be in jail, is that what you want to hear,” Anselmo Alliegro told the gathered media.
Alliegro said Rivera has been calling him to wish his daughter well. He did not say whether he feels those words are genuine. He did say, however, he didn’t know before the indictment that his daughter was involved in a scheme.
“If I knew for certain David Rivera was manipulating and using my daughter and so forth, I would proceed against him and I’m not known to be a docile person,” said Alliegro.
When CBS4’s Natalia Zea asked what he was going to say to his daughter on her release from jail, Alliegro replied “Keep out of politics.”
Sternad said he filed his paperwork in 2011 to get the Democratic nod to run for U.S. Representative when he was approached by Alliegro to help his campaign.
After her indictment, Alliegro fled to Nicaragua where she was arrested and brought back to the United States and with this David Rivera who has maintained his innocence is now listed as a co-conspirator.
Prosecutors say Alliegro has met with the government for hours, cooperating in the case they are building against Rivera.
Sternad has said he too will testify against Rivera if called to do so. He said he put everything together when one of Rivera’s pay stubs was inadvertently in the paperwork given to him by Alliegro. He pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to seven months for his role in the scam.
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