Radical Lawyer Lynne Stewart must serve a decade in prison - a sentence that could keep her behind bars until she turns 80.
Flanked Thursday by family and supporters, Stewart, 70, quietly wiped away tears as U.S. District Judge John Koeltl handed down his decision to give her 10 years and a month for helping a blind extremist cleric relay messages to terror cohorts in Egypt.
The stiff sentence was four times what she originally faced.
Koeltl said Stewart had "abused her position as a lawyer" and that her original sentence was "not adequate."
The controversial civil rights attorney was convicted in 2005 of helping Omar Abdel Rahman pass messages from prison.
She had represented him after the feds charged him with plotting to blow up city landmarks. Stewart was initially sentenced to 28 months.
In an unusual move last year, the federal appeals court ordered that she be re-sentenced because the judge in her initial trial did not rule whether she perjured herself.
Stewart was shocked by the new sentence.
"I'm somewhat stunned by the swift change in my outlook," Stewart told the judge. "We will continue to struggle on, and we will take, of course, all available options to do what we need to do to change this."
Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, her co-counsel in the terrorism case, called the sentence "a travesty, a total injustice."
Federal prosecutors had requested Koeltl hand down a 15 to 30 year sentence for the perjury and for abusing her position as a lawyer.
"Lynne Stewart broke the oath she swore as an attorney and now stands sentenced in the system of laws that she betrayed," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Stewart and her defense lawyers had asked Koeltl to uphold the original 28-month sentence, arguing that she suffers from life-threatening medical problems and that she never perjured herself.
At the time of her 2006 sentencing, she brazenly told the judge she could do the 28 months "standing on my head."
Yesterday, Stewart, who has battled breast cancer and other illnesses, was more circumspect.
"I have since learned, judge, that nobody, particularly this 70-year-old woman can do 28 months standing on their head," she told Koeltl, adding that 15 years would be "a death sentence."
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