UPDATE: Jeremy Hutchinson makes guilty plea in corruption case

Jeremey Hutchinson at Plea Hearing_1561485953817.jfif-118809306.jpg

Update: Jeremy Hutchinson, a former Arkansas lawmaker, pleaded guilty to two charges: conspiracy to commit bribery and willfully filing a false tax return.

Sentencing is scheduled for a later date.

Original story: 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A former Arkansas lawmaker who is also the governor’s nephew is expected to change his plea to federal charges he spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds on trips, groceries and other personal expenses, according to a court document filed Monday.

A change of plea hearing was scheduled Tuesday for former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who pleaded not guilty in September and had been seeking to have the charges against him dismissed. Hutchinson’s attorney and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas office declined to comment on the filing.

Hutchinson was charged with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. He was charged in a separate case in April with accepting bribes in exchange for helping a Missouri nonprofit. A former executive with the nonprofit, Preferred Family Healthcare, admitted June 12 to taking part in a conspiracy to bribe Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is the son of former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson and the nephew of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Federal prosecutors allege that from 2010 through 2017, Hutchinson used campaign money to pay for personal expenses that also included Netflix fees, jewelry, a gym membership and his utility bills. They say he tried to hide by falsifying campaign finance reports and tax filings.

Hutchinson’s attorneys have argued that the investigation began with an illegal search of his laptop and that evidence on the laptop that would exonerate him was destroyed.

Hutchinson is among several former Arkansas lawmakers who have been ensnared in corruption investigations since early 2017.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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