News (AP) - Judge orders Monica Conyers to report to prison Sept. 10

DETROIT (AP) -- The wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers has less than 30 days of freedom before beginning a three-year federal sentence for taking a bribe as a Detroit City Council member.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn entered an order in Detroit telling Monica Conyers to report to prison Sept. 10.

Cohn also denied bond for Conyers, who was attempting to avoid reporting to prison while she appeals the judge's refusal to allow her to withdraw a guilty plea on the day she was sentenced.

Conyers won a delay in reporting to prison until Sept. 10 to help a relative with medical needs.

The fiery one-time politician pleaded guilty on June 26, 2009 to conspiracy to commit bribery, and was sentenced March 10 to 37 months in prison. She tried to withdraw the guilty plea during the sentencing hearing. Her motion was denied and Conyers appealed.

It's unknown when a federal appeals court will hear her case.

The Associated Press left a message Tuesday afternoon for her lawyer.

The charge against Conyers resulted from a long-running federal probe of Detroit City Hall corruption.

Conyers accepted two payments in late 2007 from a Synagro Technologies official in exchange for supporting a 20-year contract worth $47 million annually to have the Houston-based company recycle wastewater sludge and build a modern incinerator in a poor Detroit neighborhood, authorities said.

The City Council voted 5-4 to approve the contract with Conyers' vote. It later was rescinded.

Former Synagro executive Jim Rosendall is serving an 11-month sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. The government said he paid bribes to win city approval of the contract.

Detroit businessman Rayford Jackson passed bribes to Conyers and is serving five years in prison for his role in the case.

Published: Thu, Aug 19, 2010