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A longtime friend of former Gov. Don Sundquist was sentenced Friday on federal misdemeanor charges.
That decision effectively ends the five-year investigation into how the Sundquist administration awarded millions of dollars in state contracts.
But there are hints that there could be a new chapter yet to unfold.
Inside the U.S. Courthouse, the long-running investigation into state contracts ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Sundquist friend Al Ganier was sentenced to probation for tampering with computer files.
Those files related to his company, Education Networks of America, and the millions he got in state contracts. It all began with a no-bid contract awarded by his friend's administration.
Ganier was indicted back in 2004 for obstruction of justice -- which could have meant 20 years in prison.
As the case prepared to go to trial, NewsChannel 5 chief investigative reporter Phil Williams says Ganier had a potential problem because -- according to pre-trial filings -- he had clicked "delete" on computer files that were relevant to the investigation.
But the prosecution also had a problem because Ganier had not completely deleted those files. They remained in the computer's recycle bin.
So the two sides struck a plea deal, reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor.
After a probe that brought raids on companies owned by the governor's friends, the U.S. Attorney's Office now says in a statement that it has "concluded all previously-existing aspects of its overall investigation into the award of various state contracts ... during the Sundquist administration."