Skip to comments.Waltz suspect guilty (TN State Rep. Bowers & Sen. Dixon (D) gave orders)
Posted on 08/02/2005 4:14:19 AM PDT by GailA
Barry Myers admitted Monday to carrying cash between two prominent Shelby County legislators and FBI agents posing as corrupt businessmen.
Myers, 38, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to extort bribes on behalf of state Sen. Roscoe Dixon and then-Rep. Kathryn Bowers for their support of legislation for the FBI front company E-Cycle Management.
Bowers, now a state senator, declined comment. Dixon, no longer in the legislature, said he was too busy to field questions.
Myers, a former county employee, is one of seven, including Dixon, Bowers and former state senator John Ford, charged in Operation Tennessee Waltz.
He's the first to break ranks, and his hearing provided new details, including evidence of more videotaped transactions.
Asst. U.S. Atty Tim DiScenza, for example, said the government had a surveillance tape of Myers counting cash in stacks of $1,000 and handing a stack to Dixon.
All six other defendants have pleaded not guilty and vow to fight the corruption charges.
Myers got no assurances of leniency, except that all nine remaining counts against him would be dismissed. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Two legal analysts, however, told The Commercial Appeal the plea has the signs of a deal to provide testimony in exchange for a reduced sentence.
In his statement of admission to U.S. Dist. Judge Jon McCalla, Myers said he acted at the direction of Dixon and Bowers.
Myers said Bowers and Dixon sought to shield themselves by using him as a go-between.
"I made a grave mistake, at Roscoe's direction, and picked up some money," Myers said.
Afterward, defense attorney Leslie Ballin wouldn't let his client speak to reporters but described him "as remorseful as he can be." He said Myers was "misled ... into thinking this is how politics works."
Myers, who holds a degree in political science from LeMoyne Owen College, wanted a life in public office, Ballin said.
Tennessee Waltz was born, DiScenza told McCalla, when an informant working for the FBI met with Myers in June 2003 on an unrelated matter.
Myers told the informant, DiScenza said, that to get anything done "you had to grease some palms."
The FBI then set up E-Cycle.
The company purported to be looking for sponsors of legislation that would give them authority to salvage state-owned equipment, refit it, then resell it overseas.
Ballin said after reviewing the evidence against Myers and others charged, the two decided that pleading guilty "would be the right thing, and, hopefully, the prudent thing to do."
Two former prosecutors said Myers's plea has the earmarks of a deal cut to trade testimony for a lighter sentence.
"Flipping" a defendant is key, said John R. Osgood, a former prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney in Kansas City. "This type of criminal behavior is very hard to infiltrate," he said. "To get there, you just about have to have an insider."
"Today's defendant is tomorrow's witness in white-collar crime cases," said Hickman Ewing Jr., former U.S. attorney in Memphis.
"Usually, the first guy in gets the best deal."
Myers described several transactions where he delivered money to both Dixon and Bowers, and took a cut himself.
Dixon "made it very clear to E-Cycle representatives, to work through Barry, keep Barry happy," DiScenza said.
In one transaction involving Dixon, DiScenza said, FBI agents videotaped Myers counting out six stacks of $1,000 each. Dixon is alleged to have said, "give me one of those stacks," DiScenza said.
Myers put $1,000 in a magazine, and Dixon walked out with it, DiScenza said.
Later, when given $1,500, Dixon kept it all, and did not give any to Myers, DiScenza said. Bowers was at first circumspect about taking money, DiScenza said. Later, she became comfortable enough with the agents to take money directly, he said.
Between Aug. 19, 2004, and Jan. 13, 2005, she took $8,500 in cash directly to sponsor legislation in the House for E-Cycle. Those transactions are videotaped or audiotaped, DiScenza said.
They sold themselves pretty cheap, didn't they?
Sorry can't hot link because of the lawsuits, The Bredesean again restates that Myers acted on the directions of bowers and dixon, especially dixon.
'Waltz' bagman pleads guilty, may testify against others
We can only hope this takes down these crooks and breaks the back of the FORD Machine in Memphis.
The Commericial Appeal seems to have omitted the party affiliation of the crooked pols in this article...or maybe the reporter just assumed everyone would know they are Democrats.
The MSM never identifies their fellow RATS as crooks, they only identify Republican crooks, or those they preceive as crooks.
heh heh heh
During the last guv's election The Bredesean printed NOT one positive story about Van Hilleary, then again neither did the Commie Appeal, the oak ridger or knox-news sentinal, nor did our local TV stations. I usually watch 3 or 5.