The Clarion-Ledger, 1/8/9

Georgia businessman who irked a federal judge by asking for community service was sentenced Thursday to eight months in federal prison for making an illegal campaign contribution to former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills in north Mississippi sentenced Nixon Cawood Jr. on Thursday after telling the disgraced executive he was “astonished” by his request for leniency.

Cawood was snagged in a federal investigation into the failure of Mississippi Beef Processors LLC, a cattle processing plant that closed only three months after it opened in 2004, costing 400 jobs and sticking Mississippi taxpayers with $55 million in state-backed loans.

Cawood is one of three former executives of The Facility Group of Smyrna, Ga., to plead guilty in the case. The company managed construction of the plant.