ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) -- The U.S. Air Force's former No. 2 weapons buyer was sentenced to nine months in prison on Friday after telling the court she had given Boeing Co. a rival's secret data and inflated weapons deals to ingratiate herself with the company, her future employer.
The disclosure of Darleen Druyun's efforts on behalf of Boeing could spark a new round of ethical, legal and business headaches for the Chicago-based aerospace giant, the Pentagon's No. 2 supplier after Lockheed Martin Corp.
Druyun, 56, tearfully acknowledged before Federal District Judge T.S. Ellis she had agreed to a higher price than she thought was appropriate for what became a $23.5 billion plan to acquire modified Boeing 767 aircraft as refueling tankers.
"The defendant did so, in her view, as a 'parting gift to Boeing' and because of her desire to ingratiate herself with Boeing, her future employer," according to a statement of facts she signed.
Druyun was also sentenced to seven months of post-prison confinement in a halfway house or home detention, a fine of $5,000 and 150 hours of community service. She was the top official at the Pentagon convicted for corruption since the so-called Ill Wind fraud cases in the late 1980s.
Druyun pleaded guilty in April to a conspiracy charge for illegally negotiating a $250,000-a-year Boeing job while overseeing billions of dollars of the company's contracts.
She was hired by Boeing in January 2003, two months after leaving the Air Force, where she had held the No. 2 acquisition job since 1993. In November, she was fired along with Boeing's chief financial officer, Michael Sears, who recruited her. Boeing's chief executive, Phil Condit, resigned a week later.
Since then, Boeing has been dogged by related probes by Congress, the Defense Department and federal prosecutors.
"The statements Ms. Druyun made in her sentencing papers came as a total surprise to The Boeing Company," Boeing said in a statement.
In her sentencing papers, Druyun admitted giving Boeing pricing data from Airbus, a European rival 80 percent owned by EADS, during the tanker discussions.
Airbus, also owned by BAE Systems Plc, saw its bid to provide the tankers rejected on the grounds that its offering did not fit Air Force requirements.
Druyun's statements may further delay acquisition of new tankers, a process Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put on hold in December pending a review of the Air Force's needs.
"I'm afraid there is still more misconduct on the part of the Air Force that has to be looked at," said Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who has complained of "incestuous" ties between Boeing and the Air Force.
Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group, said he expected the tanker competition to be reopened from scratch, with Airbus invited to bid.
In entering her plea in April, Druyun had agreed to cooperate fully in the government's investigation -- a promise, it emerged Friday, she had not initially kept.
After failing a lie detector test over the summer, she dropped her long-standing claim she had always acted in U.S. taxpayers' best interests while at the Air Force, Robert Wiechering, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the court.
In court, she admitted that, as board chairman of a NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control program, she negotiated what she deemed an overly generous $100 million payment to Boeing as part of a 2002 restructuring of the AWACS program.
Druyun also admitted she picked Boeing over four competitors for a $4 billion upgrade to C-130 transport planes -- "and now acknowledges that she was influenced by her perceived indebtedness to Boeing for employing her future son-in-law and daughter," the statement of facts said.
The Air Force said it would renegotiate any Druyun-negotiated contracts, if warranted, and said it had already begun adjusting NATO's AWACS deal.
In a new line of inquiry, the Bush administration is refusing to allow Senate investigators to review more than 100 e-mails connected to Air Force acquisitions chief Marvin Sambur, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Senate Armed Services Committee was told the e-mails, some involving communication with Druyun, were "law enforcement sensitive," the sources said.
Last month, White House officials asked the Justice Department to investigate a possible conflict of interest involving Air Force Secretary James Roche and Robin Cleveland, an associate director at the White House's Office of Management and Budget, which reviewed the tanker plan.