Snyder guilty round 2

Former Portage Mayor James Snyder, right, exits the federal courthouse in Hammond in March with his wife, Deborah, after a jury returned a guilty verdict in the ex-mayor's bribery trial. Content Exchange

HAMMOND — Federal prosecutors are again demanding imprisonment for former Portage Mayor James E. Snyder.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill R. Koster is asking U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly to impose a lengthy sentence July 16 on Snyder for bribery and tax evasion.

Defense attorneys have already demanded the judge order Snyder’s acquittal, or at least a new trial on the bribery count.

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His defense team has previously expressed confidence Snyder’s guilty verdicts will be overturned on appeal. They are expected to offer further argument next week on the issue of sentencing.

While Koster doesn’t enumerate how long a prison term Snyder deserves, she previously called on the court, two years ago, to sentence him to 47 months.

Her memorandum to the court, made public Friday, now only states that Snyder’s sentence should fall within the federal sentencing guidelines in such cases. She said an earlier guideline calculation put Snyder’s anticipated sentence between 46 to 57 months.

Koster argues that justice demands Snyder’s imprisonment to deter other elected officials from public corruption.

She said the government has twice proved Snyder solicited and accepted a $13,000 bribe in 2014 in return for steering a $1.125 million garbage collection contract to the Buhas Great Lakes Peterbilt firm.

She said Snyder also obstructed the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to collect unpaid taxes on a private mortgage company he ran.

Snyder, 43, a Republican, spent much of his childhood in Northwest Indiana. He graduated from Fairhaven Academy in 1996 with a high school diploma and Fairhaven College in 2000 with a degree in theology, Koster states.

Voters elected Snyder mayor of Portage, the area’s third largest city, in 2011.

A federal grand jury indicted Snyder in late 2016 on two counts of bribery and one count of corrupt tax interference.

A federal jury in early 2019 found him guilty of the tax violation and one of the two bribery counts.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Van Bokkellen overturned the bribery conviction later in 2019.

Sndyer’s retrial on the bribery count began earlier this year. The second jury found Snyder guilty March 19 after 10 days of testimony, argument and jury deliberation.

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