By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Former Pennsylvania state treasurer Rob McCord pleaded guilty today in federal court to two counts of attempting to extort donations during his unsuccessful Democratic primary campaign for governor last year.

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As McCord stood before a federal judge in Harrisburg and listened, a prosecutor detailed how McCord used the threat of his office in an effort to get campaign donations from a Philadelphia-based law firm and a western Pennsylvania property management firm, both of which had business with the state.

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One by one, the judge went through a long list of questions, to make sure McCord understood the implications of his guilty plea, and setting a late June date for a pre-sentencing conference with attorneys.

The prosecutor told the judge he would recommend a reduction in sentence as a result of McCord’s plea, but the judge reminded the former treasurer that he, the judge, will make the final decision on a sentence.

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The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison for each of two counts of extortion to which McCord has pleaded guilty.  He is free for now on his own recognizance.