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Conviction in strip club bribery case

/ Source: The Associated Press

A former strip club owner was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in federal prison for channeling tens of thousands of dollars to City Council members in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn an ordinance that prevented patrons from touching dancers.

Michael Galardi, a Las Vegas adult entertainment entrepreneur who also owned a club in San Diego, returned to federal court here nearly two years after taking the stand as the government's key witness in a corruption investigation dubbed "Operation G-Sting." In the earlier case, two politicians were convicted of bribery charges.

"I apologize for the shame and embarrassment I have caused this great city," Galardi told U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller.

Outside the courthouse, Galardi said he thought at the time that bribery was "just part of business."

"I grew up in Vegas and that is just part of how you do business," Galardi said. "I think people feel the same way everywhere about politicians _ people think they're all corrupt, and I agree with them."

Galardi, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in September 2003. He also pleaded guilty in Las Vegas to one count of racketeering stemming from a parallel probe that ensnared four former Clark County, Nev., officials.

Galardi was sentenced last week in Las Vegas to 2 1/2 years in federal prison. He will be permitted to serve his San Diego sentence concurrently.

In San Diego, Galardi testified he gave $34,500 in cash and contributions to City Council members Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet seeking to repeal a 2000 ordinance preventing strip club patrons from touching dancers. Both were convicted in 2005, although Zucchet's conviction was later overturned.