A high court upheld Monday a lower court ruling that sentenced a secretary of a disgraced lawmaker to 18 months in prison, suspended for five years, for illegally paying election campaigners, a decision that will most likely cost the Upper House lawmaker her seat.

The Hiroshima High Court turned down an appeal by Hiroshi Tatemichi, 54, a state-paid secretary of former Liberal Democratic Party Upper House member Anri Kawai, 46, who is currently on trial on vote-buying charges along with her Lower House lawmaker husband Katsuyuki Kawai, who served as justice minister.

A Hiroshima District Court ruling on June 16 said Tatemichi paid a total of around ¥2.04 million ($19,300) to 14 members of Anri Kawai's campaign staff between July 19 and 23 last year during an Upper House election, exceeding the daily legal limit of ¥15,000 each.