WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge sentenced a onetime top aide to former Sen. John Ensign to a year's probation Wednesday for violating federal lobbying restrictions.
Doug Hampton, Ensign's former administrative assistant, said after Wednesday's sentencing he was "very relieved."
Hampton, 50, was originally charged with seven felony counts of violating a one-year ban on former staffers lobbying the Senate. In a deal with prosecutors in June, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the law.
Hampton resigned his job four years ago after learning that his wife and Ensign were having an affair. Just a few days after leaving the Nevada Republican's office, he lobbied it on behalf of Allegiant Air, an airline headquartered in Las Vegas.
Hampton, a tall, bearded man with a shaved head, told U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell prior to sentencing that he wanted to "express my apologies for the choices and decisions that I made." In a deep voice, he asked for the judge's kindness in sentencing him.
Hampton's lawyer, public defender A.J. Kramer, told the judge that his client was in the "depths of despair" when he violated the law. "His life was crumbling around him," Kramer said.
Howell expressed some sympathy for Hampton.