David Livingston, chief of staff for ex-Liberal Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, has been sentenced to four months in jail for illegally deleting emails related to the cancellation of two Ontario gas plants in 2011.

In addition to jail time, Livingston will serve a 12-month probation period and 100 hours of community service. The National Post reported Ontario court Judge Timothy Lipson said Livingston’s actions had “struck at the core of the democratic process.”

Livingston was McGuinty’s chief of staff from 2012-2013, and was sentenced for one count of an unauthorized use of a computer, while a second guilty finding against him for attempting to commit mischief to data was stayed during a pre-sentencing hearing in February.

During that hearing in February, the Toronto Star reported that the judge said the deletion was part of a “dishonest” scramble to protect the Liberal government from the controversy over the scrapping of two power plants at the public’s expense before an election almost seven years ago. Livingston’s deputy chief, Laura Miller, was acquitted of the same charges during the pre-sentencing hearing. The CBC reported that during pre-sentencing, Livingston told the court he regretted his decision to delete the emails.

“Knowing what I know today, I would have acted differently as chief of staff,” Livingston told judge Lipson.

Today’s sentence comes months before the Ontario general election June 7.

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