Cecil McCrory withdraws guilty plea in Corrections Department bribery case

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The attorney for Cecil McCrory, a former state legislator involved in the massive Department of Corrections bribery and kickback case, filed a motion in federal court Thursday to withdraw his guilty plea.

McCrory’s sentencing is set for Dec. 21 by U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate. The judge will decide whether to allow the plea withdrawal.

Attorney Carlos Tanner alleges that McCrory received ineffective counsel from his initial attorney when he entered the guilty plea in February 2015 to one count of bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Tanner also said in the motion that McCrory was pressured into the guilty plea by then Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, who was the lead prosecutor on the Epps’ corruption case.

Former Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps and McCrory were arrested in November 2014. Epps is accused taking at least $1.4 million in bribes and kickbacks over eight years to steer more than $800 million worth of state prison contracts. McCrory, a Rankin County businessman, was accused of bribing Epps and receiving cash from contracts and consulting fees.