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Tenn. Lawmaker Pleads Guilty to Bribery
By Woody Baird
The last of five lawmakers indicted in an undercover public corruption probe dubbed Tennessee Waltz pleaded guilty Monday to bribery.
Former state Sen. Kathryn Bowers, 64, a Memphis Democrat, pleaded guilty to one federal count accusing her of splitting $11,500 with an accomplice who served as a go-between with FBI agents posing as dishonest businessmen. She had insisted for two years that she was innocent.
"She came to accept that what she did was wrong," defense lawyer William Massey said before the hearing. "She stood very firmly, for a very long time, in her belief that she was not guilty."
In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dropped five more serious charges of extortion, each carrying a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The bribery charge carries a maximum 10-year prison term and a fine of $250,000, though federal guidelines would call for a much lighter sentence for a first-time offender. Sentencing was set for Oct. 24.