Former Missouri Democratic Gov. Roger Wilson eluded a federal prison term Monday when a federal judge in St. Louis sentenced him to two years probation for illegally using insurance money to make a campaign contribution to the Missouri Democratic Party.
Wilson, 63, served as governor of Missouri for three months at the end of 2000 after Gov. Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash. At the time of Carnahan's death in October of 2000, Carnahan was running for the U.S. Senate. As the lieutenant governor, Wilson automatically served the three months remaining in Carnahan's term as governor.
Wilson pleaded guilty to state campaign finance fraud on the same day he was indicted on federal charges.
Wilson was sentenced by Chief Magistrate Judge Mary Ann Medler. The judge said she decided against jail time for the former governor because of Wilson's previous lack of a criminal record and the number of letters of support she received.
Medler could have sentenced Wilson up to six months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.