Thompson pleads guilty on corruption charge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Thompson pleads guilty on corruption charge

Bruce Thompson (file photo) Bruce Thompson (file photo)

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court Wednesday morning.

Three other federal charges against Thompson will be dismissed under the terms of a plea agreement. Thompson was indicted last November on three counts of mail fraud and one count of extortion.

According to the indictment, Thompson told representatives of H&M Construction of Jackson, Tenn. and its minority partner Salton Fox that he would help them win a bid to build three schools in Memphis if they donated money to the election campaigns of certain city school board members.

Wednesday, Thompson admitted to falsely representing himself to those companies, who paid him more than $270,000 for his services.

Thompson's plea was a major reversal from late last year, when he was adamant about his innocence.

"I've done nothing wrong, as I've said from the beginning," he said in a November, 2007 interview.

Outside the federal courthouse Wednesday, Thompson let his attorney, Leslie Ballin, do the talking.

"We don't have anything to offer other than what was said in court, and live will go on, and we will do what we need to do," Ballin said.

Thompson's plea cut his potential jail time from more than 20 years to no more than one year and one day.

"We're not going to comment on anything," Ballin said.  "The facts were presented in court, and they are what they are, and we did what we did.

In June, a federal judge will decide whether to accept Thompson's plea.  If he does not, Thompson can reverse his plea again and go to trial.

Click here to send an email to Anna Marie Hartman.

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