DETROIT (WXYZ) - Sixty-two-year-old Victor Mercado told Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds he prayed he would not go to prison. His prayer was answered, sort of.
He was sentenced to 8 months in a halfway house where he can check out to work during the day, and 2 years probation.
Mercado also told the judge he was sorry for what he did and apologized to the court and to the City of Detroit.
Mercado was 6 weeks into the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's friend and contractor Bobby Ferguson and Kilpatrick's father, Bernard, when he gave up the fight.
He would plead guilty to one count of Conspiracy and the government would drop charges of Extortion, Racketeering and Obstruction of Justice.
The evidence worked for and against Mercado.
Mercado was Director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department from 2002 to 2008. He helped Ferguson get contracts - some were no work for Ferguson.
But also, Mercado was not in the Kilpatrick circle of trust, not one of the real conspirators, that Mercado was pressured by the Mayor to help.
Mercado also did nothing to stop or turn in the Mayor and his corrupt administration.
Former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison, Ferguson 21 years in prison and Bernard Kilpatrick, found guilty on one count of Tax Evasion was sentenced to 15 months.
According to his attorneys, Mercado is living in Florida and working at a home improvement store.
Mercado told the judge he's a broken man, his career is over, this was a life-altering case and he feels terrible. His wife and kids were not with him in court.
Mercado's attorneys will work on a deal with the government to pay some amount of restitution. A fine was not part of his sentence.