Disgraced former Queens city councilman Ruben Wills cried like a baby as he was sentenced to two to six years in prison Thursday for looting public coffers, pleading for leniency and maintaining his innocence to the end.
Wills, who was stripped of his title at sentencing, was ordered to pay almost $33,000 in restitution after a jury found him guilty of pocketing some $30,000 in city funds.
The normally well-heeled politician arrived in court in jogging duds and blue sneakers–and bawled as he begging the judge for leniency, claiming he’d done nothing wrong.
“Do not incarcerate me,” Wills begged. “I maintain my innocence and disagree with the verdict.”
“I did those things to enrich the community,” the typically cocky man said through sobs, at times crying so hard he was unintelligible. “I cannot justify that I did something wrong.”
“In my entire life I’ve never taken anything from anyone,” he blubbered. “My purpose from birth is I am an advocate.”
The still-teary pol then turned to his wife, and apologized for not spending more time with her “because I was out in the streets helping people and praying for people.”
Defense attorney Kevin O’Donnell also asked the judge for mercy, saying “very few people have given more to the community than Ruben Wills.”
“Show him some mercy, some compassion,” the lawyer implored, adding that jail would bankrupt his client and leave him unable to pay restitution. “I’m just asking you, judge, that you do the right thing and let him do community service. Nobody wins by him going to jail.”
“I have no doubt that you have done some good things in the community,” Queens Supreme Court Judge Ira Margulis told the whimpering lawmaker. “However you are convicted for stealing from state and city agencies.”
Margulis then slapped the disgraced pol with a $5,000 fine on top of everything else, and ordered him cuffed.
So there you have it. Now caption that photo!