Judge grants delay in Cooper sentencing

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Former state Rep. Nathan Cooper won a week's delay in his sentencing but a federal judge rejected his request for a longer postponement.

In an order handed down Monday, U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton set Oct. 26 for Cooper's sentencing on two federal felonies for immigration fraud. Cooper had asked for a 30-day delay from the original Oct. 19 sentencing date, which conflicted with the beginning of a trial involving Cooper's attorney, Joel Schwartz of St. Louis.

Cooper pleaded guilty Aug. 9 to creating shell companies to hide the real employers foreign truck drivers and to purchasing temporary worker visas intended for hospitality workers for use by the drivers. Since entering the plea, Cooper, a Republican, has resigned from the Missouri House, been suspended from the practice of law and ordered to pay $50,000 to settle a federal forfeiture claim against the financial gains from his actions.

Cooper faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison. He has cooperated with investigators, and attorneys for both sides have said they expect Cooper will be sentenced to 30 to 37 months.

For updates, check back at www.semissourian.com or read Wednesday's Southeast Missourian.

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