Benjamin set to plead guilty in Mississippi bribery scandal

FILE PHOTO Former state Sen. Irb Benjamin, who was charged last year in a bribery scandal centering on former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps. walks to the federal courthouse for a hearing in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, June 9, 2016. The hearing is on evidence of how much the bribes taken by Epps cost Mississippi's taxpayers. That determination, in turn, will influence how long Epps spends in prison for money laundering and filing false tax returns related to $1.4 million in bribes prosecutors say he took. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A former state senator is scheduled to become the sixth person to plead guilty in Mississippi’s prison contract bribery scandal.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate is set to accept Irb Benjamin’s plea Tuesday morning in Jackson.

Indicted in August 2015, Benjamin is charged with paying bribes to former Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps. Brandon businessman Cecil McCrory and Epps pleaded guilty to charges connected to the bribery scheme in February 2015, but still await sentencing. Three others have also pleaded guilty on related charges.

Benjamin was indicted in August 2015 on three charges which could bring 40 years in prison. Benjamin’s lawyer, Joe Hollomon, hasn’t said to which charges Benjamin will plead guilty.

The indictment charges that Benjamin bribed Epps to obtain contracts at prison work centers and county jails.

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