I stood before the judge like a lamb going to slaughter. I made a final and tearful plea, reading a prepared statement to the court. To my disbelief, the judge then read, signed, and handed one of my lawyers the sentencing papers. As a non-cooperating co-defendant, and a naive newcomer to the Chicago pay-to-play contracting business, I was given the maximum time for my plea bargain. I was devastated, I stood before the court, feeling abandoned, and without hope.