Justin Lamar Sternad speaks to Local 10 News before beginning prison sentence

Former U.S. House candidate pleaded guilty in campaign finance violation case

Sternad begins his 30-day prison sentence Monday for lying about campaign funding.
Sternad begins his 30-day prison sentence Monday for lying about campaign funding.

MIAMI – Former U.S. House candidate, Justin Lamar Sternad, sat down with Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg Monday morning before starting his 30-day prison sentence for lying about campaign funding.

Sternad was processed into a federal jail in Miami shortly after the meeting.

For his last meal before booking, Sternad ordered a bagel at Coral Bagels before starting his sentence after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations in a case linked to former congressman David Rivera.

"You accept responsibility?" asked Milberg.

"Yeah," said Sterand.

"It was your choice?" asked Milberg.

"Yeah," said Sternad.

"So what went wrong in your head?" asked Milberg.

"Probably should have backed out," said Sternad.

Sternad admits that he was part of a scheme to secretly finance his candidacy in the 2012 Democratic primary in an attempt to weaken eventual winner Joe Garcia. Co-defendant Ana Alliegro also admitted to her role in the scheme, but both claim Rivera was the mastermind behind it.

"I met with Ana on pretty much an everyday basis and phone-wise we spoke daily." said Sternad.

"And at no point did you say, 'I am getting out?'" asked Milberg.

"I actually thought it was too late to put the gun back in the holster at that point. I thought regardless of what I would have done, I was already implicated in that whole thing," said Sternad.

At breakfast, the father of five and hotel worker said he is ready to go in and get his sentence over with, and is ready to testify against Rivera, who is not charged in the case and insists he was not involved.

"I will tell them everything I know," said Sternad, when asked what he would tell the court if Rivera was charged. "Everything that happened. Every little conversation I heard. Whatever they need to come to the conclusion that he was part of this."

"This continued cooperation allowed him to get an additional reduction after sentence, so it was reduced to 30 days," added Sternad's attorney, Rick Yabor.

Sternad was previously sentenced to seven months in prison as part of a plea deal. In September, a federal judge cut Sternad's sentence to 30 days in prison with three months of house arrest. He was originally facing 15 years behind bars.

Follow Glenna Milberg on Twitter @GlennaOn10

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