By Andy Sher
A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Former State Rep. Chris Newton to 12 months and one day in prison on federal extortion charges.
Mr. Newton, a Republican from Cleveland, Tenn., pleaded guilty Aug. 30, 2005, to charges of conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit bribery. He admitted to accepting money from E-Cycle Management, an undercover FBI company, in exchange for supporting legislation beneficial to the company.
U.S. District Court Judge Jon Phipps McCalla repeatedly talked about his difficulty in trying to determine a punish for Mr. Newton.
Mr. Newton also received two years of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine. Officials also will take Mr. Newtons DNA.
Mr. Newton is the first person to be sentenced in the FBIs Operation Tennessee Waltz probe, which so far has resulted in the indictments of nine people, including five current or former state legislators.
Hamilton County Board of Education member Charles Love has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit bribery and is awaiting sentencing.
Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton was convicted last week on charges of conspiracy to commit extortion and attempt to commit extortion. A jury acquitted him on another charge of attempt to commit extortion. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 2.
tate Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, also is charged with taking money from E-Cycle. He maintains his innocence and is awaiting trial.
Also indicted as part of the FBI investigation were former state Sens. John Ford, D-Memphis, and Roscoe Dixon, D-Memphis; state Sen. Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis; Shelby County Commission Chairman Michael Hooks Sr.; and Memphis political activist Barry Myers.