change of plea

Kelsey’s change-of-plea hearing set for Nov. 22

Sen. Brian Kelsey walks in the state Capitol on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Sen. Brian Kelsey’s change-of-plea hearing in the criminal case stemming from his 2016 congressional bid has been scheduled for Nov. 22.

Prosecutors last year charged Kelsey with orchestrating the illegal transfer of state campaign funds to a national conservative group to run ads supporting his run for federal office.

Kelsey, who had vociferously maintained his innocence in his few public comments since he was indicted, abruptly changed his tune last week by having his attorneys file a change-of-plea motion.
The move came a week after the guilty plea of co­defendant Josh Smith, the owner of a Nashville private club catering to GOP politicos. It also followed the previous weekend’s arrest of former Rep. Jeremy Durham on drunken driving charges in the city’s downtown tourist district. Durham, a Franklin Republican, is identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, and Kelsey has intimated his longtime friend and political ally was cooperating with prosecutors in the case.


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