Democrat Convicted on Four Counts of Federal Fraud Charges
Democratic state senator from Tennessee found guilty on 4 of 5 charges
A top Democrat lawmaker from Tennessee has been convicted on four counts of federal fraud charges.
Democratic State Sen. Katrina Robinson was found guilty on four out of five charges but is refusing to say whether she will heed calls to resign from office.
Robinson was convicted of wire fraud on Thursday and still faces further charges including money laundering, according to WHBQ-TV.
The Democrat is now facing up to 20 years in prison for her crimes.
Robinson was caught using taxpayer money to pay for her lavish wedding and personal expenses.
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has called on Robinson to step down immediately.
"While Senator Robinson’s convictions did not stem from actions taken while in office, they are nevertheless very serious,” he said in a statement.
"As public servants, we are held to a higher standard.
"My personal opinion is that it would be in the best interest of the state and her constituents for Senator Robinson to step down at this time.”
Robinson, who could face up to 20 years in prison, hedged about her future.
"My service to the state Senate — I’m still committed to that,” she said.
"However, I have not yet made a decision about how we move forward.”
The Democratic lawmaker, who will be sentenced on Jan. 5, said the guilty verdict changed nothing.
"First, let me say that I entered this process knowing that I am innocent and still maintain that I am innocent,” she said, according to the Daily Memphian.
Defense attorney Larry Laurenzi questioned the verdict.
"We strongly feel that the jury did not get it right, that the jury got it wrong,” Laurenzi said.
"We feel that, in fact, somehow the burden fell upon us to prove her innocence.
"We feel that was wrong."
Robinson was charged with misusing more than $600,000 in a 20-count indictment.
Fifteen of the counts against Robinson were dismissed last week.
The five charges that remained accused Robinson of using federal dollars to pay for two vendors for her wedding, a makeup artist and a caterer.
Prosecutors claimed she told her accountant the money was for a community event and not her wedding.
Robinson faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in another case in which she and two others are accused of defrauding an individual out of $14,470.