PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the corruption conviction of a former Providence hospital executive, saying jurors had ample evidence to find that he had bribed a state lawmaker for legislative favors.

Robert Urciuoli, the former president and CEO of Roger Williams Medical Center, was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in 2008 for paying a state senator, John Celona, to advance the hospital’s legislative agenda. He was sentenced in April 2009 to three years in prison but was allowed to remain free pending the outcome of his appeal.

Urciuoli argued that the monthly payments to Celona, who in 2005 pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges, represented a legitimate consulting salary — not a bribe. He said jurors should have been told that Celona, as a part-time legislator, was allowed under state law to work for the medical center and vote on bills affecting it and other hospitals.

He also argued that his convictions should be reversed because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited the scope of a federal fraud statute used to prosecute Urciuoli and other business executives.

A three-judge panel from the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected those arguments, noting that politicians, business executives and others can still be prosecuted for bribery and kickback scheme under the “honest services” fraud statute. The court said evidence showed that the payments to Celona amounted to bribes.

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who occasionally hears cases with the 1st Circuit, was among the judges who decided Urciuoli’s appeal.

Urciuoli’s lawyer, Martin Weinberg, said he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Clearly we’re disappointed, but optimistic that this decision sets the stage for Mr. Urciuoli’s appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Prosecutors argued that Urciuoli hired Celona to act as a secret lobbyist for the medical center, directing him to support or oppose bills based on the hospital’s interests.