Former Tennessee state Rep. Chris Newton now is one of 581 inmates housed at the federal Atlanta Community Corrections Camp, a minimum security facility next to the Atlanta federal penitentiary, according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records.
Mr. Newton, 35, was sentenced Feb. 22 to one year and one day in a federal prison. He pleaded guilty in August to extortion and bribery charges related to the FBI’s Operation Tennessee Waltz public corruption sting.
U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla ordered Mr. Newton to report Thursday to the community corrections facility where he will stay in dormlike facilities, according to information provided by the Bureau of Prisons. Chattanooga lawyer Tom Greenholtz, who represents Mr. Newton, could not be reached Thursday for comment.
The federal prison system does not offer parole, meaning Mr. Newton will be required to serve his entire sentence. However, it is possible that he could receive a reduction of up to 15 percent for good behavior.
Mr. Newton was one of nine individuals, including four other current or former state lawmakers, who were indicted in the public corruption probe.
State Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, has pleaded not guilty to extortion and bribery charges and is awaiting trial. Nashville lawyer William Farmer said an April 20 court date for Sen. Crutchfield has been postponed until June to allow him more time to review video and audio recordings of conversations between defendants and undercover agents posing as businessmen from ECycle Management.
Sen. Crutchfield, like Mr. Newton, was accused of accepting bribes in return for supporting legislation beneficial to the undercover company that was established by the FBI.
Mr. Farmer said a trial date may be selected at the June court date.
"If we can get everything done and give some reasonable expectation of when we’ll be ready, it might be," Mr. Farmer said.
Also charged were former Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton, who was convicted in February and is awaiting sentencing, and former Hamilton County Board of Education member and unregistered lobbyist Charles Love, who has pleaded guilty and also is awaiting sentencing.