Indicted lawmaker Newton thanks constituents for prayers

State Rep. Chris Newton sent a letter to constituents thanking them for their support following his arrest in an FBI corruption sting. Newton, a Republican from Cleveland, was arrested last week with Democratic Sens. Kathryn Bowers, Ward Crutchfield and John Ford and former Sen. Roscoe Dixon. Ford has since resigned from the Senate Investigators say Newton took money to help push legislation for a fake company set up by the FBI. Federal authorities also charged lobbyist Charles Love and Memphis resident Barry Myers, who they described as bagmen for the payoffs. "Number one is I appreciate the thoughts and prayers of many people here at home and secondly I ask all those folks out there to keep my family in their prayers as we allow the judicial process to take its course," Newton said in a statement to constituents. The lawmakers said he has been told by his attorney not to talk about the arrest. "Anyone who knows me, knows this - I want to say something but I cannot say anything," he said. Newton said support has come in from across the state. "What I really want to get out there is that the thoughts and prayers are very important," he said. Bowers, Ford and Crutchfield have all said they are innocent of the charges.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)