Former Memphis Sen. Brian Kelsey wants to withdraw guilty plea in campaign finance conviction – Tennessee Lookout
Less than two weeks before a sentencing hearing, former state Sen. Brian Kelsey is attempt to withdraw his guilty plea and asking the court to dismiss five counts of a federal conviction on violating campaign finance laws.
In a motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Kelsey requested that Judge Waverly Crenshaw reconsider his November plea, claiming it would be “unfair and unjust to allow” him to be sentenced for a crime “legally impossible” for him to commit.
The former Germantown Republican’s filing appears to claim the indictment was politically motivated and says he entered his guilty plea “with an unsure heart and confused mind” after his twin sons were born and while his father was on his “death bed.”
Kelsey’s filing to change his guilty plea contends the court should grant his motion to withdraw the plea because he pleaded guilty to a set of facts that don’t “actually constitute a crime and entered his plea agreement with unsure heart and confused mind.”
“During this incredibly stressful and confusing time, Kelsey was given a mere 48 hours to make a life altering decision – a decision made without fully understanding consequences that have come to light only after he entered his plea,” the filing says.
Kelsey’s guilty pleas each could net him five years in prison, three years of probation and a $250,000 fine.
His new filing maintains his innocence to an indictment and conviction for directing a scheme to send more than $90,000 from his state campaign finance account through two political action committees to the American Conservative Union, which bought radio/digital ads for his failed congressional campaign.
The former state senator, an attorney by trade, was set to be sentenced March 28, and his hearing was moved in front of co-conspirator Joshua Smith’s hearing because federal prosecutors wanted Smith to be available for testimony in case something went awry with Kelsey’s sentencing. At least three people, including state Sen. Paul Rose, R-Covington, sent letters asking the judge to give Kelsey a light sentence.
Kelsey’s filing contends the court should grant his motion to withdraw the plea because he pleaded guilty to a set of facts that don’t “actually constitute a crime and entered his plea agreement with unsure heart and confused mind.”
Kelsey was set to go to trial in January until Smith entered his guilty plea in November. The former senator then pleaded guilty in late November, less than a year after he took to the Senate chamber floor to claim his indictment was a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
Kelsey’s wife, a former American Conservative Union employee, received emails detailing his conservative credentials and passed them on to ACU officials, who then endorsed the expenditures backing his campaign, according to court filings.
Creative Commons Republished from tennesseelookout.com
Comments are closed.