SPARTANBURG — A federal judge sentenced former Greenville County councilman Tony Trout to one year in prison on computer spying charges on Wednesday, telling the former police officer that he violated the public's trust and should be held to a higher standard.
In a tearful apology, Trout told U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd that he was wrong to implant a bug on County Administrator Joe Kernell's computer that allowed him to access Kernell's personal emails.
Trout told the judge that while he had researched state laws on computer surveillance, he hadn't versed himself on federal laws until now.
“I'm guilty, and I'm sorry, and I was wrong,” said Trout, who was uncharacteristically quiet as he left the courthouse with no comment following his sentencing. “It's all because of me … nobody else but me.”A jury convicted Trout in April on four counts of computer spying and wiretapping after Trout testified in his own defense that he didn't know that it was illegal to intercept Kernell's personal e-mails through the administrator's computer and private Yahoo account.