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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- Former D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. was sentenced to 38 months in jail Thursday for stealing more than $350,000 in government funds and filing false tax returns for three years.



People spoke on behalf of Thomas Jr. Thursday morning and asked for sentencing leniency from federal judge John Bates.



The government had asked for 4 months of jail plus three years of supervised probation, while the defense was asking for 18 months in jail.



Thomas' mother, Romaine Thomas, reportedly quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. to the judge prior to sentencing saying, "There is something good in the worst of us, and something bad in the best of us."



"Judge Bates I humbly ask for mercy and leniency for my son," Romaine Thomas continued.



"We are asking the court to send a loud and clear message that if you steal from the people you will pay a higher price," the prosecutor stated this morning.



Thomas Jr. pled guilty earlier this year to stealing more than $350,000 in government funds and filing false tax returns for three years. He was also accused of using the money for his own personal gain, such as lavish vacations, fancy cars and a motorcycle.



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