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A former Arkansas state legislator, who is the nephew of Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting bribes from lobbyists and the filing of a false tax return as part of a deal with the federal government to dismiss lawyers, and others from allegations of corruption against him.
Former state Sen., Jeremy Hutchinson was in Little Rock Federal court to taking more than $ 150,000 from the co-owner of the orthodontic clinics in exchange for efforts to change state dental practice law. He admitted with more than $10,000 in campaign contributions to pay for Netflix fees, jewelry, gym memberships, and electricity bills.
Prosecutors alleged Hutchinson reports failed to $20,000 in monthly payments from a law firm and concealed other sources of income on his 2011 tax return.
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State Sen., Jeremy Hutchinson, pictured in 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, file)
To play “the investigation of the rampant corruption scheme numbers in our state capitol is in progress,” USA Duane Kees said in a statement after the afternoon hearing. “This plea represents a serious turning point in the track and you will this use of sham consulting agreements, influence on the passage of the law.”
Hutchinson, 45, also voted guilty to a conspiracy charge in a Federal case in Missouri, where he is accused of taking bribes to accept from the managers of the Springfield-based Preferred Family Health, Inc. in exchange for favorable legislative action. The behavioral health care provider serves several Arkansas Medicaid patients.
The ex-GOP legislator is expected to his confession in the Missouri case, 8. July.
Hutchinson-who served 16 years in the Arkansas house of representatives and the Senate — joined in the last year after his indictment in a corruption probe, the ensnarled several Arkansas legislators and lobbyists. He declined to speak to reporters Tuesday.
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“Jeremy has said as a part-time legislature for many years, and I am deeply saddened with this violation of the public trust,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson, in a statement. “As a civil servant I know, the damage this power to the public’s confidence and trust in our elected representatives. We should all redouble our efforts to do the right thing in public office and for the restoration of the public trust.”
Hutchinson faces up to eight years in prison and up to $350,000 in penalties for bribery and tax evasion charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.