MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Former Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey, accused of violating federal campaign finance laws, pleaded guilty to two federal charges Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Kelsey (R-Germantown) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the FEC and aiding and abetting the acceptance of excessive contributions on behalf of a federal campaign. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count.
The former senator appeared in court Tuesday for a change of plea hearing in his federal campaign finance case.
Last month, Kelsey filed a motion to have the change of plea hearing almost one year after he and Nashville social club owner Joshua Smith were indicted by a federal grand jury as part of an alleged campaign finance scheme.
Both men are accused of violating election rules by funneling money from a state campaign to a federal campaign while Kelsey made a bid for congress in 2016.
Kelsey initially pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in November 2021 and suggested that the charges against him were politically motivated, calling it a “political witch hunt.”