Ex-Illinois lawmaker Keith Farnham sentenced to 8 years for child porn

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ELGIN, Ill. -- A federal judge has sentenced terminally ill former Illinois lawmaker Keith Farnham to eight years in prison for compiling and trading more than 2,000 pornographic images of children online.

He was fined $30,000.

Farnham, 67, has 60 days to surrender to federal marshals. Due to his deteriorating condition he is headed to a federal prison with hospice care.  He suffers from lung disease.

"If the doctors' estimates are correct he will probably die in about three months," Farnham's attorney, Terry Ekl, told reporters after today's sentencing at the Illinois Appellate Court facility in Elgin.

It is just a year since federal agents raided his home and office, forcing him to resign.  He pleaded guilty last year to child pornography charges.

Farnham said little as he left the courtroom after Federal Judge Edmond Chang announced the prison sentence and fine.

"I want to say how sorry I am," Farnham told the judge before sentencing. "I want to say how sorry I am to the victims, I apologize for my gross lack of judgment."

"His conduct is eating him up inside," said defense attorney Terry Ekl.

Federal agents reportedly seized more than 2,700 child pornography images from Farnham's computers.

Judge Chang called Farnham's crimes "despicable" and said each of the images he had represented "a nightmare" for the children involved.

Among the victim impact statements, a 45-year-old woman testified that she had been molested by Farnham at the age of eight, sending her on a downward spiral that led to substance abuse and criminal behavior.  Farnham's lawyer disputed the allegation.  But the judge found that Farnham did, in fact, engage in sexual contact and sexually abused the victim.

The judge denied a request from Farnham's attorney to allow him to remain under house arrest and die at home.

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