Former Senator Brian Kelsey files motion for bail, alleging government breached plea deal in ‘loophole’

Tennessee Sen. Brian Kelsey
Tennessee Sen. Brian Kelsey(Action News 5)
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Former Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) has filed a notice to appeal his plea deal after he was sentenced to 21 months in prison earlier in the month, alleging the U.S. Government breached his plea agreement upon sentencing, legally entitling him to bail.

Kelsey pleaded guilty in November to violating campaign finance laws and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission to benefit his campaign for his 2016 campaign for U.S. Congress. After his 21-month sentence, Kelsey will face three years of supervised probation.

According to the notice filed August 22, under Kelsey’s plea agreement, the government was not allowed to argue for an obstruction of justice enhancement but did it anyway under the argument that his conduct “supported application of the two-level [obstruction] enhancement.”

After serving his sentence Kelsey will be on probation for three years.

He says under the plea agreement, the government acknowledged it could not argue for the obstruction enhancement, but wanted to get around its promise, therefore introducing “a newly-concocted theory” that the limitation only applied if the court or probation office refused to ask for the government’s position on the enhancement.

At sentencing, Kelsey argues the government lied in wait until the court asked whether there was any comment in response to his objection to the obstruction enhancement. The government allegedly argued that Kelsey should receive the enhancement, breaching the agreement’s terms.

Kelsey argues this breach was “no accident,” and the government “pounced on what it viewed as a loophole.”

Kelsey claims he did not receive the full benefit of his bargain and his constitutional rights were violated in the process.

Because of this, Kelsey argues he is legally entitled to bail.

In court filings, Kelsey said stress and time constraints led him to accept the plea deal agreement. Kelsey cites losing his lawyer license, the death of his father, the birth of twin sons and financial issues as the stress that led him to accept the deal.

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