Former state Sen. Vincent Fumo was sentenced on Tuesday to 55 months in prison for fraud, obstruction of justice and tax convictions after a federal judge announced that he had decided to depart down from a recommended 10-year prison term because of Fumo’s extraordinary public service.

U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter’s sentence of less than five years in prison seemed to surprise and even delight some of Fumo’s friends and supporters, who had braced themselves in recent weeks for a much stiffer punishment when a probation officer calculated that Fumo’s crimes called for a prison term in the range of 21 to 27 years.

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