Newton changes plea in Tennessee Waltz case - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Newton changes plea in Tennessee Waltz case

State Representative Chris Newton changed his plea to guilty in the Tennessee Waltz public corruption probe Thursday morning.

Newton said he got caught up in the "business as usual" atmosphere within state legislature.

Prosecutors say five current and former lawmakers accepted bribes for favorable legislation.

Newton's guilty plea is the third one so far. Newton pleaded guilty to taking 15-hundred dollars from bagman Charles Love. Speaking in a strong clear voice, he told the judge he took the money in exchange for sponsoring legislation for E-Cycle a dummy company set up by the Feds.

"I'm just pleased that this portion of my life, I'm able to start turning the page with the Lord's help form above and start new tomorrow," Newton said after the hearing.

Newton said he will resign from the state legislature November 1.

So far two men described as bagmen, Charles Love and Barry Myers, have pleaded guilty. Myers said he gave payoffs to former State Senator Roscoe Dixon.

Dixon's attorney says the guilty pleas do not necessarily affect his client but, attorneys do have to consider those who plead guilty as people who could testify against a defendant.

The attorney for State Senator Kathryn Bowers, also indicted in the Tennessee Waltz case, says guilty pleas mean nothing to his client.

And what about former state Senator John Ford also indicted in Tennessee Waltz?

"Guilty people plead guilty," said Mike Scholl, Ford's attorney. "Innocent people go to trial. Mr. Ford is innocent. We're going to trial."

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