Tennessee state senator pleads not guilty to federal charges

Published 9:59 am Thursday, August 13, 2020

MEMPHIS (AP) — A Tennessee state senator has pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds received by a health care school she directed and using the money to pay for personal items and expenses.
Democratic Sen. Katrina Robinson entered her plea Tuesday during an online hearing before a federal magistrate judge in Memphis, court records show.
Robinson was indicted July 30 on dozens of counts of wire fraud, and theft and embezzlement involving government programs, in connection with her job directing The Healthcare Institute, which provides training for health care industry jobs, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors said she used U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant money earmarked for health care worker training to pay for her wedding and honeymoon, home improvements, a Jeep Renegade for her daughter, her children’s snow cone business, a campaign event, legal fees for her divorce and other things.
Robinson’s attorney, Janika White, has said Robinson would be vindicated. Robinson said she will continue serving her Memphis district in the Senate.
If convicted, Robinson faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. Robinson would be up for re-election in 2022.

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