Published: Nov 02, 2011 10:02 PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Former Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez has entered a plea of no contest just before the start of her trial on corruption charges.
    
Fernandez pleaded no contest Wednesday to a count of receipt of unlawful compensation for official behavior and seven other counts. The other counts included acceptance of illegal campaign contributions and certifying a false campaign finance report.
    
She faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison when she is sentenced in January.
    
Fernandez told the judge during her plea in court that she was being used as a political scapegoat.
    
Her attorney says the 66-year-old Fernandez doesn't feel she is guilty of a crime. She had considered the risks of a long prison sentence, and she decided it was better to reach a plea deal.

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