A county official whose family has a long history in the civil rights movement was sentenced Wednesday to slightly more than two years in prison for bribery.
Michael Hooks Sr., the former chairman of the Shelby County Commission, is one of 11 people, including five current or former state lawmakers, charged in an undercover FBI investigation code-named Tennessee Waltz.
Judge J. Daniel Breen noted Hooks’ guilty plea and statements of remorse in sentencing him to 26 months, less than the federal guidelines. Breen also ordered two years’ supervised release after the prison term, which does not allow for parole.
“We thought there was a chance of getting a little less, but I’ve done much more to myself than the judge could ever do,” Hooks said.
Hooks, 56, pleaded guilty to taking $24,200 from FBI agents posing as representatives of E-Cycle Management, a fake company that sought favors from government officials.
Hooks grew up in the home of his uncle, Benjamin Hooks, 81, the former national director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The elder Hooks said he had advised his nephew to admit his wrongdoing.
“Having raised Michael, loving him like a son, I hate to see this happen,” Benjamin Hooks said outside the courthouse. “He made a mistake. Many of us do, and he has to pay the price of the mistake.”