Former Mayor gets probation on ‘facilitation of bribery’ charge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Former Millington Mayor Richard Hodges has been given three years probation after he demanded a cash loan from a local businessman in exchange for allowing the man to keep a Millington police badge.

Hodges was indicted on two counts of bribery, but pleaded guilty in September to the lesser offense of facilitation of bribery. He could have faced up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Commercial Appeal reports (http://bit.ly/1tU3KDe) defense attorney Tommy Parker released a written statement saying that probation was appropriate given Hodges’ lack of criminal record, life of service and the nature of the infraction.

He said Hodges “wants the people of Millington to know that he made a mistake and regrets his actions.”

Prosecutor Byron Winsett agreed not to lobby against the defense’s request for probation if Hodges took the stand and admitted wrongdoing. Hodges hesitantly admitted Friday that he used his position as mayor to obtain the loan from businessman Marlin Roberts.

The honorary badge had been given to Roberts by the former Millington Police chief.

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation affidavit had alleged that Hodges engaged in illegal gambling at Roberts’ business, Transmission Doctors, and owed the business owner more than $10,000. TBI also alleged that Hodges offered Roberts city resources for things like drainage work, curb maintenance and tree and grass cutting.

Defense attorney Parker emphasized that Hodges’ guilty plea involved only borrowing “a few hundred dollars,” and did not amount to the “wave of corruption” law enforcement attempted to find during its investigation.

“The good news for Millington is that there was no such wave of corruption to be found,” Parker said.