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A Tel Aviv court today sentenced the eldest son of coma-stricken former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to seven months in jail for corruption, reducing his original sentence by two months. While handing down the reduced prison term, Judge Yehudit Shaitzer pointed out that Omri Sharon had acted out of personal interests and his actions were tainted with political corruption. "Sharon's actions resulted in a distortion of the will of the voter," the Judge said.

Sharon had filed an appeal in March against the nine-month jail term he had received for concealing illegal contributions from secret donors for his father's 1999 campaign for leadership of the Likud party.

The court, however, deferred the implementation of the sentence until July 22 to give Sharon's lawyers a chance to appeal against the verdict. Sharon's lawyers said they would consider taking their appeal against the sentence to the Supreme Court soon.

"The reduction in sentence is significant but we think the appropriate punishment in this case is community service, not imprisonment," Sharon's attorney Navit Negev told the Israel Radio.

The former Likud party lawmaker and the state had earlier reached a plea bargain arrangement, according to which Sharon had agreed to plead guilty to the two most serious charges provided the state changed two other charges to less serious ones.

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