MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One local legal expert says he is not surprised charges were filed against Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson.
Criminal defense attorney Claiborne Ferguson says typically, you don’t see the FBI filing multiple search warrants for the same person unless they’re moving forward with prosecution.
“One of the defenses she could have is that for some of the payments that she made, it sounds like she needed to go back and ask for the grant to be amended,” said Ferguson. “And so, technically, she may have thought either that had been done. And so, you look at the intent when she took that money. Was the intent to defraud the federal government? Or was she thinking she was legitimately entitled to those funds?”
Ferguson says 95-percent of federal criminal cases reach a settlement before the case goes to trial.
And in the majority of those cases, the accused pleads guilty.
He says because Senator Robinson was charged through a complaint versus being indicted, her attorneys can ask for a probable cause hearing and get a really good look at the government's proof.
That hearing is now set for Thursday, August 6 at 2:30 p.m.
Ferguson also says the U.S. Attorney’s office must seek indictment within 30 days of the complaint, or the case gets dismissed.