fraud trial

Democratic Sen. Robinson convicted in federal fraud case

A federal jury has found Democratic state Sen. Katrina Robinson of Memphis guilty of four counts of wire fraud.

Katrina Robinson (Image credit: Tennessee General Assemlby)

Robinson’s prospects at trial had been looking up after the judge last week granted a defense motion to acquit her of 15 of the 20 counts she had been charged with. But the trial proceeded this week on the remainder of the case and the freshman senator was convicted after the jury of eight women and four men deliberated Thursday for five hours.

The dismissed counts include allegations Robinson had illegally spent grant money on her 2018 Senate campaign, legal fees for her divorce, and contributions to her retirement account.

What remained of the more than $600,000 prosecutors had alleged Robinson misspent were two counts of wire fraud related to $2,326 she paid an artist through a booking agent and $1,158 that went to a wedding makeup artist. Also surviving the judge’s ruling were three counts of wire fraud alleging Robinson made fraudulent representations in annual performance reports from 2017 through 2019. The jury acquitted Robinson of any wrongdoing on her 2018 report.

Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) called on Robinson to resign.

“While Senator Robinson’s convictions did not stem from actions taken while in office, they are nevertheless very serious,” McNally said in a statement. “As public servants, we are held to a higher standard. My personal opinion is that it would be in the best interest of the state and her constituents for Senator Robinson to step down at this time.”

Robinson faced up to 20 years in prison for the full set of wire fraud charges before she was acquitted of most of them. Sentencing is scheduled for January.

Judge grants acquittal motion on 15 of 20 charges against state Sen. Katrina Robinson

Katrina Robinson (Image credit: Tennessee General Assemlby)

A federal judge has granted a motion for acquittal on 15 of 20 charges in the fraud trial of state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman said she would make an an oral ruling in court on Monday morning, with the jury set to return later in the day to hear the defense’s case. Robinson’s attorneys had made the motion to dismiss the entire case after the prosecution had rested last week, arguing the government had failed to prove she had misspent federal grant money meant for her nursing school on personal expenses.

The dismissed counts include allegations Robinson had illegally spent grant money on her 2018 Senate campaign, legal fees for her divorce, and contributions to her retirement account.

What remains of the more than $600,000 prosecutors had alleged Robinson misspent are two counts of wire fraud related to $2,326 she paid an artist through a booking agent and $1,158 that went to a wedding makeup artist. Also surviving the judge’s ruling are three counts of wire fraud alleging Robinson made fraudulent representations in annual performance reports from 2017 through 2019.