Former Arkansas Legislator Pleads Guilty to Federal Bribery and Conspiracy Charges

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A former Arkansas county judge and lawmaker pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to accept more than $80,000 in bribes in exchange for influencing legislation and transactions in the state, authorities say.

According to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, 64-year-old Henry Wilkins IV, of Pine Bluff was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, namely honest services fraud and bribery.

Wilkins resigned from his post as county judge in Jefferson County in March. He served in the state House or Senate from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2011 to 2015. He was a state senator from 2001-2011.

As part of his plea, Wilkins admitted that while serving in the General Assembly from 2010 to 2014, he accepted a series of bribes from lobbyists and nonprofit that were funneled from firms to a fund for St. James United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff, which Wilkins had access to while serving as its pastor, the release states.

He steered approximately $245,000 in money from the General Improvement Fund to his co-conspirators, the attorney’s office said.

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