Tennessee Dem Expelled From State Senate Over Fraud Conviction

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On Wednesday, a Tennessee Democrat was ejected from the state Senate after being convicted of fraud.

Last autumn, state Sen. Katrina Robinson of Memphis was found guilty of wire fraud after she was accused of diverting $600,000 from a health-care school she ran to pay for her wedding and other personal costs before taking office.

Following a proposal from the Ethics Committee, state senators voted 27-5 to expel her on Wednesday.

While speaking before the vote, Robinson termed the expulsion a procedural lynching and claimed the procedure was racist and misogynistic. She also mentioned scandals that have afflicted other state senators who have not been expelled.

She and other Democrats contended that the vote should be postponed until she is sentenced on two counts in March. A judge acquitted Robinson of 15 of the 20 accusations, but a jury found her guilty of four of the five charges of wire fraud.

Two of the four remaining allegations were later removed by a judge, and she was only found guilty of two of the twenty counts, involving $3,400 in wedding expenditures in 2016.

Robinson, 41, was a member of Tennessee’s 33rd state Senate district, which included parts of Memphis and its environs. She was serving her first term in the Senate after being elected in 2018.

The last instance a Tennessee legislator was expelled was in 1866, following the Civil War, when six members of the House of Representatives were removed for refusing to attend a special legislative session.

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