HomeNewsJudge Rejects Former TN State Sen. Kelsey’s Request To Change Plea

    Judge Rejects Former TN State Sen. Kelsey’s Request To Change Plea

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    A federal magistrate denied former Tennessee state senator Brian Kelsey’s request to withdraw his guilty plea on charges that he illegally funneled funds to his unsuccessful 2016 congressional campaign.

    In July, Kelsey is scheduled to be sentenced. The guilty admissions could result in up to ten years of imprisonment, six years of probation, and a fine of $500,000 each.

    “Kelsey pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and another for aiding and abetting the acceptance of funds in excess of federal limitations of $25,000. Recently, Kelsey wanted to withdraw his guilty pleas because he claimed to enter them ‘with an unsure heart and confused’ after his twin sons were born and his father was on his ‘death bed,’” the Tennessee Lookout reported.

    “Kelsey previously served as chair of the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee. Kelsey illegally moved $90,000 from his state campaign account to a federal account to bolster his failed bid in 2016 for the Congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. David Kustoff, R-Memphis, according to prosecutors. It is illegal to direct state campaign funds to a federal campaign,” the outlet added.

    “Kelsey’s gave $106,000 to his co-defendant Josh Smith, owner of The Standard Club, a downtown Nashville restaurant frequented by state Republicans, according to the indictment. The money was filtered through The Standard Club PAC and Citizens 4 Ethics in Government PAC to the American Conservative Union, which bought a radio and digital advertising backing Kelsey in the last weeks of his campaign,” the outlet continued.

    Late in 2012, the Department of Justice issued a press release stating:

    Kelsey, 44, of Germantown, confessed in court documents that he unlawfully and secretly transferred funds from multiple sources, including his own Tennessee State Senate campaign committee, to his authorized federal campaign committee. Kelsey, a practicing attorney, and his co-conspirators, including Joshua Smith, also caused a national political organization to make illegal and excessive contributions to Kelsey’s federal campaign committee by secretly coordinating with the organization on advertisements supporting Kelsey’s federal candidacy, resulting in the filing of false reports of contributions and expenditures with the FEC.

    More on this story via Conservative Brief:

    Kelsey and his co-conspirators orchestrated the concealed movement of $91,000 – $66,000 of which came from Kelsey’s State Senate campaign committee, and $25,000 of which came from a nonprofit corporation that publicly advocated on legal justice issues – to a national political organization for the purpose of funding advertisements that urged voters to support Kelsey in the August 2016 primary election. Kelsey and his co-conspirators also caused the political organization to make $80,000 worth of contributions to Kelsey’s federal campaign committee in the form of coordinated expenditures. CONTINUE READING…

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