Joe Cooper, who secretly taped meetings last year where he passed money to City Council members Rickey Peete and Edmund Ford, has pleaded guilty to money laundering.
The plea mirrors the information in a federal criminal complaint against Cooper that was unveiled last November.
Cooper, a perennial political candidate and hanger-on for several years, helped drug dealers acquire expensive cars from Bud Davis Cadillac to launder money. One of the drug dealers, Korreco Green, secretly worked with the FBI to snag Cooper, who in turned helped the government develop their case against Peete and Ford, who have been indicted and are awaiting trial. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Cooper, who has a previous felony conviction, will likely testify against Peete and Ford if they go to trial. Cooper faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $500,000 fine.
-- John Branston