Volkswagen engineer gets prison in diesel case

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, the logo of Volkswagen is displayed on a car during the Car Show in Frankfurt, Germany. Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal widened Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that clandestine software allowing six-cylinder Volkswagen diesel engines to cheat on pollution tests is on more models than originally thought. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

DETROIT (AP) – A Volkswagen engineer who had a key role in the company’s diesel emissions scandal has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and fined $200,000.

The sentence handed down Friday in Detroit was steeper than prosecutors requested for James Robert Liang.

During the hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox said Liang knew the German automaker was cheating and worked to cover it up. The judge imposed a 40-month prison sentence.

Prosecutors had requested a 36-month prison term and a $20,000 fine.

Liang declined to speak on his own behalf Friday.

Liang had asked the judge to consider a sentence of probation and 1,500 hours of community service. He is one of two VW employees to plead guilty, although others charged in the case are in Germany and out of reach.

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