State Sen. Katrina Robinson has been indicted on 48 counts — 24 counts of theft and embezzlement from government programs and 24 counts of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Michael Dunavant said Thursday. A federal grand jury returned the indictment Thursday.
Robinson was taken into custody and released on her own recognizance. She can travel in West and middle Tennessee without restrictions, according to court documents. Robinson was charged with theft and embezzlement on Wednesday.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court alleges Robinson used federal grant money issued to her for-profit nursing college to buy a vehicle for her daughter, expenses related to her wedding and honeymoon, and legal fees for her divorce. She is also accused of using the grant money to pay off credit cards and student loan payments, purchase beauty products and fund a campaign event.
Robinson, a Democrat, represents Tennessee Senate District 33, which encompasses portions of Whitehaven and Parkway Village in Memphis. She was elected to the office in 2018.
During a press conference Wednesday evening, neither Robinson nor her attorney Janika White directly denied the accusations outlined in the criminal complaint. Robinson implied her political convictions played a role in the investigation.
“It is believed that if I were not in the position that I’m in, that if I did not champion the voices, the views and the faces that I represent, that I would not be in this moment right now,” she said.
Robinson asked her supporters and constituents to pray for her.
“I want to ask that anyone who is listening to this, anyone who is watching this, if you support me, keep supporting me, if you stand with me, keep standing with me,” she said.
White said her client had been cooperating with federal investigators and criticized the statute cited in the criminal complaint, saying it was “broad and overreaching and leads to what no one in this society wants, which is overcriminalization.”
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