Butler-o-rama no drama Butler gets 1 year knocked off from Sentence


(04-28) 21:08 PDT SAN FRANCISCO --Christopher Butler, the former private investigator convicted of framing men for drunken-driving arrests, selling drugs and opening a brothel as part of the "Dirty DUI" scandal, had a year shaved from his federal sentence Monday because he had cooperated with prosecutors.
In a one-page order, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco said he was reducing Butler's sentence from eight to seven years at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office. The judge didn't elaborate.
Butler's attorney, William Gagen, said Monday, however, that his client was eligible for a reduced sentence because he had agreed to testify against two other defendants in the case.
"It is good news," Gagen said. "A person is benefited in the eyes of the government if they accept responsibility and, in the course of that acceptance of responsibility, they are truthful about the participation of others."
Butler, 52, is serving time at Englewood, a low-security federal prison in Littleton, Colo.
Butler had testified for the prosecution against former Contra Costa County sheriff's Deputy Stephen Tanabe.
Tanabe was sentenced to a year and three months in prison after being convicted of charges that he accepted a pistol from Butler in exchange for arresting two men who the private investigator had baited into driving drunk.
Butler, a former Antioch police officer, was also prepared to testify against San Ramon divorce attorney Mary Nolan, but she pleaded guilty to tax evasion and hiring Butler to plant a listening device in a car of a client's ex-husband. She was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
Butler and Norman Wielsch, the former commander of an elite county narcotics task force, were the masterminds of a corruption scheme involving several other law-enforcement officers. Wielsch was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison after being convicted of stealing narcotics from evidence lockers and trying to sell them back on the street.
Henry K. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: hlee@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @henryklee


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