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Semenza sentenced on bribery charges

Robert Semenza will spend time in prison for taking bribes from a businessman in Old Forge.

OLD FORGE, Pa. — A former Old Forge borough council president was sentenced Monday in federal court.

Robert Semenza pleaded guilty to the charges for his role in a bribery scheme last year.

He faced a maximum of 10 years behind bars. In a full courtroom on Monday, he asked for leniency and got it.

Semenza left federal court in Scranton after being sentenced to one year and one day behind bars.

He admitted to taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a business owner from January 2019 to February 2020 in exchange for a promise that he would use his influence to advocate for and vote on that business owner's behalf.

Semenza's plea agreement with federal prosecutors required him to testify at the trial of James Peperno. Peperno was the middleman in the bribery scheme.

In September, a federal jury convicted Peperno of bribery.

Semenza faced a maximum of 10 years in prison, but the judge sentenced him to significantly less time.

"We started off at the beginning of 30 to 37 months. We got down to a recommendation of 15 to 18 months, and for him to get 12 months and a day is a win technically, and that's not from me. I didn't do some amazing lawyering here. All of it was on Mr. Semenza's shoulders," said Semenza's attorney Jason Mattioli.

Semenza will have to report to serve his time in prison on Friday, January 27.

Semenza's attorney said it was an addiction to drugs and alcohol that forced Semenza into a downward spiral and led him to make poor choices. Semenza said he has been sober for more than two years.

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