Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty showed up for federal court in West Palm this morning dressed as a repentant sinner, in a white jacket and pearls. She choked back tears when she addressed the judge charged with sentencing her for violating public corruption law, telling him and the listening courtroom audience: "My carelessness and irresponsibility have humiliated and humbled me. I beg your forgiveness and the forgiveness of the community that I love."
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In the subdued circus that followed, the entourage of McCarty supporters, opponents, and lawyers all stuffed into courtroom elevators with the reporters no one wanted to talk to. McCarty's lawyer, J. David Bogenschutz, told the TV cameras that he considered the sentence "a substantial break" from what she could have gotten, but she was obviously "not happy" with the immediate order to head to prison. She had been hoping to voluntarily surrender to a minimum-security prison such as the one where Martha Stewart served, putting her in a class with only the best celebrity crooks.