Former congressional candidate eyes probation

Ex-congressional candidate seeks probation

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MIAMI - A former South Florida congressional candidate is seeking probation for his cooperation in a federal investigation surrounding the failed re-election bid of Republican ex-U.S. Rep. David Rivera.

The attorney for Justin Lamar Sternad said in court papers filed Tuesday that his client was a pawn in a bigger political game. Attorney Rick Yabor says Sternad has come clean with authorities and should not serve any time in prison.

Under federal sentencing guidelines Sternad faces between 12 and 18 months behind bars. Federal prosecutors also recommend leniency when Sternad is sentenced June 11.

Sternad pleaded guilty in March to three charges. The investigation involves allegations that Rivera secretly financed Sternad's Democratic primary campaign to weaken eventual winner Joe Garcia, who nevertheless defeated Rivera.

Rivera has repeatedly denied the accusations.

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