- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2001

DALLAS A worker for the presidential campaign of George W. Bush was sentenced in federal court in Austin yesterday to a year in prison for sneaking a campaign-related videotape to a congressman connected to the Al Gore campaign.
Juanita Yvette Lozano, 31 and a lifelong Democrat, had pleaded for probation.
She read a brief statement, saying she was sorry for the predicament she was now in, but did not apologize for lying to a federal grand jury and the FBI.
Lozano was charged with mail fraud and perjury. She will also have to serve a three-year probationary period after she is released from federal prison, and was given a $3,000 fine.
When she agreed to plead guilty in June, Lozano admitted that in September 2000 she mailed a 60-minute videotape, strategy book and 120 pages of other Bush campaign papers to former Rep. Tom Downey, New York Democrat, who had been aiding the Gore strategy team. They were materials she thought would help Mr. Gore prepare for his first public debate with Mr. Bush.
Mr. Downey turned the package over to the FBI, which began an extensive investigation.
Washington sources have told The Washington Times the videotape showed Mr. Bush occasionally frustrated and "a bit agitated" at tough questioning during a practice debate.
Lozano became a suspect almost immediately when a video-surveillance camera at the Austin post office from where the package had been sent pinpointed her as being there at approximately the time the shipment was marked.
Digging into the suspect's home computer, agents found several records of Internet searches for Mr. Downey's address.
She denied any such involvement, telling the FBI and a grand jury she had mailed some clothing to a friend that day at the post office.
The former campaign worker came close to tears as she read her statement, which dealt mostly with what her life had become, particularly that now, as a felon, she could not vote.
"Every election," she read haltingly, "will be a powerful reminder as I will be only an observer in the process."
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks seemed unmoved and told her she should have thought of that before she got involved.
"The thing that concerns me," said the judge, "is not only did you break your duty to your employer and the political process, but you intentionally lied before a grand jury.
"Our whole system of government," he went on, "depends on free elections. Our whole system of justice depends on telling the truth.
"You are very bright," the judge added. "There's no doubt in my mind that you knew exactly what you were doing."
Lozano was employed by Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon. She had been an active Democrat in the Austin area, once serving as a precinct chairman.
She was allowed to leave court afterward and she and her attorneys refused comment. No date was set for her reporting to prison.


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