Corruption News



(10 Sep 1997) English/Nat

A senior Clinton aide has pleaded innocent to charges that he accepted more than 35-thousand dollars (U-S) worth of gifts and travel from businesses.

Former U-S Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy who resigned from Clinton’s cabinet in 1994 – entered his not guilty plea during a brief hearing at the U-S District Court in Washington.

Proclaiming himself eager to tell his side of the story, former U-S Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy was back in Washington Wednesday…..only this time, he was in court.

Espy pleaded innocent to charges that he accepted and tried to conceal more than 35-thousand dollars in sports tickets, travel and other gratuities from U-S farm companies.

Last month, a grand jury charged Espy with 39 counts of wrongfully accepting favours.

Favours that included tickets to National Football League and National Basketball Association playoff games, travel on corporate aircraft and lodging from companies regulated by the Agriculture Department.

Espy is also charged with lying to Agriculture department officials and F-B-I agents about the gifts.

As he stood before the court, the former U-S Secretary of Agriculture said he is innocent of those charges.

The judge did not set a trial date…but he did issue a schedule for motions and status hearings that would go through December.

That means Espy’s case will likely not go to trial until sometime next year.

As he left the courthouse, Espy declared his innocence, insisting he has been unfairly accused.


For the last three years my family and some very close friends have endured an unfair and unprecedented investigation. I have been publicly accused by the independent council who has been in complete control of this process. I have always believed however that it’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to. And this afternoon I have answered ”not guilty” because indeed I am ”not guilty”.
SUPER CAPTION: Mike Espy, Former U-S Secretary of Agriculture

Espy also thanked those who have stood by him through what he calls this difficult period in his life.

And he said, now, it is his turn to tell his side.


Through this trial the public will now here my side of the story. Although some have called this a witch hunt, I have faith and I know that I will prevail in this latest challenge to my life.
SUPER CAPTION: Mike Espy, Former U-S Secretary of Agriculture

Most of the counts against Espy carry a potential sentence of five years in prison each, although three carry required minimum sentences of one year in jail.

One charge – that he ordered a USDA worker to alter a document – carries a possible 10-year sentence.

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