Former state Sen. Brian Kelsey pleads guilty to two federal charges in campaign conspiracy

Former Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey leaves federal court Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. Kelsey changed an earlier plea of not guilty to guilty Tuesday, on charges of violating campaign finance laws. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Former Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey leaves federal court Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. Kelsey changed an earlier plea of not guilty to guilty Tuesday, on charges of violating campaign finance laws. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By Melissa Brown | Nashville Tennessean

Former state Sen. Brian Kelsey pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two federal corruption charges in what prosecutors have described as a campaign finance conspiracy to benefit his failed bid for a U.S. congressional seat.

Appearing before a judge at the Fred D. Thompson federal courthouse in Nashville, Kelsey pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and another count of aiding and abetting the acceptance of excessive campaign contributions.

He faces up to five years in federal prison on each count. Sentencing has been set for June, though attorneys in the case indicated they would motion for an earlier date.

Kelsey, 44, flanked by his attorneys, did not comment while leaving the courthouse on Tuesday.

The case was moving toward a January trial when Kelsey’s co-defendant, Nashville social club owner Joshua Smith, pleaded guilty to a single federal charge in October.

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