PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — A businessman and former friend of Pittsburgh’s ex-police chief has been sentenced to three years probation for bribing a city official to get a $327,000 contract to put radios and computers in city police cars.

The judge concluded that Arthur Bedway Jr. cooperated with the government, is 64 years old and the chance for getting in trouble again is low.

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Bedway pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy, bribery and mail fraud charges. In addition to the probation, Bedway must also pay $30,000 in fines.

He is an entrepreneur from Robinson.

Bedway contends former Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper came up with the idea and was paid $10,000 for his role in it. Harper’s attorneys have repeatedly denied that.

Both Harper and former city systems analyst Christine Kebr were also charged in the case.

They both pleaded guilty and face sentencing next month.

Kebr pleaded guilty in December 2012 to taking $6,000 in bribes from Bedway to help his business, Alpha Outfitters, land the contract in 2007.

Kebr says she took the bribes to prepare bids that made it appear Bedway’s business was owned by a woman to take advantage of city set-asides for female-owned businesses.

Harper pleaded guilty to federal charges back in October.

After the hearing, Bedway and his attorney still contended that former police chief Nate Harper was the mastermind of the conspiracy.

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“I’m here because of 30 years of friendship,” Bedway told reporters.

When asked what he’d do differently, Bedway replied, “Don’t trust your friends.”

The friend Bedway was referring to was former Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper, who Bedway and his attorney claim was the mastermind behind a contract to outfit
Pittsburgh police cars with communications equipment.

But in the end, Bedway pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud charges in connection with that contract.

The fact that federal judge Cathy Bissoon sentenced Bedway to probation rather than jail indicates to Bedway’s lawyer that the judge believes Bedway was not the mastermind.

“She further made a specific finding on the record, it’s on the record, it’s a
public record that she found it credible that art Bedway got involved with this incident because Nate Harper solicited him,” said Bedway’s ttorney Martin Dietz. “That’s on the record. She made that factual finding.”

Not so fast says Harper’s lawyer, who still contends that if the federal government found wrongdoing on the part of Nate Harper, they would have charged him in connection with this case.

They have not. His case is a tax case.

“This is getting wearisome for us,” says Robert DelGreco, who represents Harper. “This is the third time the chief has had to defend against allegations that have not resulted in charges. The chief was not the instigator, not the mastermind, not complicit with Alpha Outfitters, nor did he receive any consideration or money from Art Bedway.”

Harper is scheduled to be sentenced in his separate income tax case in a few weeks.

Under sentencing guidelines, Bedway could have faced 12 to 18 months in jail.

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