An aide to an embattled Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison, suspended for five years, for illegally paying election campaigners last summer — a decision that will most likely cost the lawmaker her seat in parliament.

The Hiroshima District Court found 54-year-old Hiroshi Tatemichi guilty of paying a total of around ¥2.04 million ($19,000) to 14 members of Anri Kawai's campaign staff between July 19 and 23 last year, exceeding the daily legal limit of ¥15,000 each.

In a related move, the LDP announced Wednesday that it accepted a letter of request from Kawai and her husband, former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai, both at the center of a vote buying scandal in the House of Councilors election, to leave the party, which is led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.