He threatened a Muslim family that planned to move to his neighborhood. Now, he’ll go to prison.

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The case has come to some closure for Asgar and his family; Howard was sentenced to eight months in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to a criminal violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, civil rights laws dating to the 1960s that outlaws, among other things, threatening or interfering with another person’s housing rights because of their race or religion.



Howard has also been ordered to pay $30,000 of restitution to Asgar, for the deposit that Asgar and his family lost when they canceled the closing on the home.


Asgar said that the sentencing brought some measure of relief to him and his family.


“We really feel that justice has been served and probably this will be a deterrent to people who think that they can take the law into their hand,” Asgar said.


Asgar declined to provide details of the family’s current living situation, but said that they are still looking for a new home.


Prosecutors wrote in documents filed in the case that Asgar and his family had been deeply shaken by the incident. Asgar “could not sleep for weeks,” they wrote, and had trouble finding the words to explain what had happened to his two children because he did not want to give them the feeling of “powerless discrimination,” that he felt, they wrote. The incident had made the family “think twice about expressing their faith and religion – an injury worse than any broken bone or destroyed property,” prosecutors wrote.


Howard’s lawyer, David Scott Boardman, did not return a request for comment. In court, Howard said he was dying from AIDS as he addressed the judge, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He blamed his actions on the testosterone supplements he was taking to combat weight loss for causing his outburst.


“I’m a good person,” he said, according to the Times. “This incident just happened, and I wish I could undo it.”

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