Nashville club owner takes plea deal in campaign finance case against Sen. Brian Kelsey

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 12:39 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Nashville social club owner took a plea deal following an indictment for allegedly violating campaign finance laws during Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey’s campaign.

Joshua Smith, originally pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the FED, illegally transferring “soft money” as a federal candidate and his agent and illegally transferring “soft money” as a state officeholder and his agent.

Court documents show Smith pleaded guilty to only one of those charges on Oct. 7.

Court documents allege Smith and Kelsey conspired to funnel “soft money” from Kelsey’s Tennessee state Senate campaign committee to his authorized federal campaign committee.

The indictment also alleges the duo, and others orchestrated the concealed movement of $91,000 to a national political organization for funding advertisements that urged voters to support Kelsey in the August 2016 primary election.

Kelsey was set to go on trial in January 2022, but the date was delayed until January 2023.

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