- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The sentencing of a former Illinois Department of Public Health aide convicted of bribery and theft was postponed Friday due to the lengthy number of character witnesses who spoke in her behalf.

Quinshaunta Golden pleaded guilty last year to bribery, theft and obstruction of justice in a kickback scheme. After four hours of testimony from nearly 20 character witnesses at a sentencing hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough said she wanted to take the weekend to look at all the facts. The hearing will resume Tuesday.

“I’ve never had a sentencing hearing like this in 28 years,” Myerscough said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass has recommended an 11-year sentence for Golden.

Nineteen witnesses volunteered to testify to Golden’s character, including Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Andrea Zopp and Democratic Rep. Danny K. Davis. Family, friends, community leaders and ministers described Golden as a selfless, religious individual and pleaded for mercy for her.

Davis, who is Golden’s uncle, said she was truly sorry for her part in the crime.

“I think that Quin made some bad decisions, some bad judgments,” Davis said. “She got caught up in some things that appeared to go beyond her control.”

Zopp did not attend Friday’s hearing, but she submitted a letter calling the crimes uncharacteristic of Golden. The two served together on the Cook County Health and Hospitals System board for three years.

“The crime that Quin is being sentenced for is completely aberrational for the professional and person I know,” Zopp wrote.

However, David Moody, an assistant deputy director during Golden’s tenure, testified that his time under the former chief of staff was anything but pleasant.

“Intimidation was a major factor in how the department was run,” he said.

The accusations against Golden stem from her time as health department chief of staff under former Public Health Director Dr. Eric A. Whitaker, who has not been charged with a crime. Golden allegedly took steps to ensure millions in grants went to not-for-profit groups controlled by Leon Dingle Jr. He was convicted last year with his wife of theft of money meant to raise awareness of AIDS and cancer.

Roxanne Jackson, a former director of human resources for the Department of Public Health, pleaded guilty in September to bribery, theft and tax evasion charges. She was recently sentenced to 25 months in prison and ordered to repay the roughly $1.1 million meant for Health Department programs.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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