Former Lackawanna County commissioner A.J. Munchak left the federal courthouse in Scranton a free man for at least the next 60 days.
That is how long he has to turn himself in and start serving his seven year prison term.
Heading into the courtroom Monday morning Munchak was preparing for the worst. His family read statements of support, and Munchak said to the judge, “It’s like listening to my eulogy.”
Federal Judge Richard Caputo agreed to recommend Munchak’s wishes to be placed in a minimum security prison in Florida. His co-defendant, Bob Cordaro, was sent straight to prison where he will serve an 11 year sentence.
“So, I’m glad he agreed with us that the guidelines were too high. I’m sorry that he didn’t agree fully about how much too high and the sentence for Mr. Munchak was shockingly high for what we heard today,” said Cordaro’s attorney Peter Goldberger.
Both men will serve sentences much lower than what the prosecution sought, perhaps because of the amount of support the former commissioners received.
The judge heard close to two hours of testimony from friends and family, all calling for a minimal sentence.
A.J. Munchak’s daughter, Joelle, argued that her father has suffered enough, saying, “Any positive impact he may have had during his tenure is now stained by this ordeal.”
“It was an emotional day, it was sad. It was something that I was proud to do and I’m proud to call myself Bob Cordaro’s friend,” said Thomas Bell. “The energy, the emotion was palpable. There was a lot of pain the courtroom, however, Judge Caputo acted as a jurist of the law and imposed a sentence that he thought was fair.”