Hooks pleads guilty to one of two felony charges - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis

Hooks pleads guilty to one of two felony charges

Michael Hooks, Sr. talks to reporters after Monday's hearing. Michael Hooks, Sr. talks to reporters after Monday's hearing.

MEMPHIS- Former Shelby County Commissioner Michael Hooks, Sr. pleaded guilty Monday morning to one of two felony counts he faced in the Tennessee Waltz public corruption case.

Hooks was accused of taking payoffs totaling $24,000 dollars from a company trying to gain a computer recycling contract with county government.

"I pleaded guilty simply because I am," Hooks said after the hearing. "I have nobody to blame but me. I don't blame the sting operation. I have nobody to blame but me. I simply shouldn't have taken the hook."

Hooks, a long-time politician and former county assessor, told reporters gathered outside the federal building downtown that it has been a hard and fast fall.

"I knew better. I should have done better," he said. "I failed myself, my community, and my family."

Hooks’ attorney, Steve Farese, said his client decided to plead guilty after he saw the evidence the federal government had against him.

"I was able to sit down for three straight days with Michael," Farese said. "He knew at that time that a trial was simply out of the question."

Farese said Hooks has not made any deal with prosecutors to testify in other Tennessee Waltz cases.  He also says he believes Hooks will get prison time when he is sentenced.

The plea came on the day Hooks' trial was to begin. It gave federal prosecutors their sixth conviction in Operation Tennessee Waltz.

Former state Senator Roscoe Dixon and former Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton were convicted at trial. Former state Representative Chris Newton pleaded guilty.

Confessed payoff bagmen Barry Myers and Charles Love also pleaded guilty. 

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