The Look in Brief

Report: Kelsey surrenders to feds week after indictment

By: - November 1, 2021 1:54 pm
Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, stands next to Sen. Richard Briggs of Knoxville in the Senate Chambers on Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, stands next to Sen. Richard Briggs of Knoxville in the Senate Chambers on Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Sen. Brian Kelsey, a week after being indicted for alleged federal campaign violations, reportedly surrendered to federal authorities Monday in Nashville.

ActionNews5 in Memphis reported Kelsey turned himself in five days before he was supposed to report to authorities for a hearing before a judge at the federal courthouse in Nashville. Judge Waverly Crenshaw is set to hear the case after Judge Aleta Trauger recused herself, according to a Tennessee Journal report.

The Germantown Republican and Joshua Smith, owner of the Nashville social club The Standard, face a five-count indictment alleging they funneled more than $90,000 from Kelsey’s state account to political action committees held by The Standard and Andrew “Andy” Miller with Citizens 4 Ethics in Government, which then bought independent radio ads in support of his failed 2016 congressional run. It is against federal law to use unregulated state funds called “soft money” for federal campaigns.

Kelsey reportedly turned him in ahead of the Friday hearing and was arraigned before Magistrate Jeffrey Hensley where a formal reading of the charges was made.

Kelsey has maintained his innocence, calling the indictment a “witch hunt” in proclaiming on the Senate floor last week that the feds’ lead witness agreed to testify for immunity.

Former Republican state Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin, who was expelled from the House in 2016, was subpoenaed in March to testify before the grand jury in Memphis hearing Kelsey’s case.

He was ordered to supply a long list of information related to him and Kelsey, their wives and several other people who purportedly were involved or had knowledge of the matter.

Because of the indictment, Kelsey stepped down temporarily as chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

 

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Sam Stockard
Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association.

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