Repentant Waltz Defendant Bowers Tries to 'Stand Tall' in Guilty Plea 

Former state Senator Kathryn Bowers, who at times had seemed vulnerable during the two-odd years of her indictment for bribery and extortion in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz sting, was composed and articulate Monday morning as she changed her plea from not guilty to guilty in federal court.

Consistent with the judicial formula for such pleas, Bowers accepted "responsibility" for Count 6 of a six-count indictment, admitting having received $11,500 from undercover agents to do legislative favors for the fictitious computer firm E-Cycle.

After Judge Daniel Breen read the government’s chronology of payments accepted by Bowers from March 2004 to January 2005, he asked Bowers if the account was accurate. "Basically," she responded firmly. Breen thereupon entered her plea of guilty (counts 1-5 were dismissed) and, on assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza's recommendation, released Bowers on her own recognizance. Sentencing will be on October 24th.

During an extended interchange with reporters outside the federal building, Bowers enunciated another plea – that citizens not be deterred from voting by disillusionment with the political process as a result of the Tennessee Waltz sting and other evidence of corruption among elected officials.

Asked if her change of plea had been prompted by the government's unbroken string of successful prosecutions of Tennessee Waltz defendants – the latest coming with a guilty plea from state Senator Ward Crutchfield of Chattanooga on Thursday – Bowers said no, she had just consulted her conscience and decided to atone for her wrongdoing. She said she thought the sting had resulted in an increased awareness among legislators and potential legislators of their responsibilities and limitations under the law.

On her way out of the federal building toward her rendezvous with the media on Front St., Bowers had complained about pain in her right foot. "It’s the shoe," she said, pointing to a pair of new taupe-colored open-weave high-heeled shoes. She had dropped something on her foot on the 4th of July, "and it still hurts," she said, but she was determined to "wear something cute" on this day of accountability.

"I’m only 4 feet 10," she said, smiling, "and when you’re that short, you’ve got to do something to help you stand tall."

Maybe she did. Maybe she didn't. But in the judgment of several reporters after her plea change and press conference, Bowers had managed a pretty good try, all in all, at doing just that.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Music Blog

Jose Feliciano Plays Unannounced Memphis Gig

Hungry Memphis

Welcome back, Restaurant Iris!

Music Blog

Gillian Welch Wows GPAC

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Alpha

Intermission Impossible

In Praise of "Love and Murder" at Playhouse on the Square

News Blog

MATA Looks to Hire More Trolley Operators

Music Blog

Listen Up: Cruelty of the Heavens

News Blog

VIDEO: SUV Driver Swerves Into Cyclists

Intermission Impossible

Ostranders to Honor Memphis Performers Who Died During 2017-18 Season

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

Readers also liked…

  • The Buddy System

    Harris and Kelsey hope to effect a good public outcome on the TVA/aquifer issue.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Cohen Tells It!

    In which Memphis’ Democratic congressman Steve Cohen, addressing an apparent GOP effort to muddy the waters on the Russian inquiry, not only takes no crap but gives it back where it came from. This is worth watching from beginning to end -- even for those who might disagree on the politics of the matter.
    • Jul 26, 2017
  • In reading the May 1st election totals, it depends on what your eyes are letting you see.

    Dissenters to "blue wave" theory rely on 2014 Lutrell-Lunati baseline to make cases for GOP having better bounce th9s year.
    • May 10, 2018
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation