MEMPHIS, Tenn. — State Sen. Brian Kelsey pleaded not guilty to multiple charges on Monday, November 1.
Sen. Kelsey was indicted Oct. 25 on campaign finance violations from 2016 that stem from a private social club based in Nashville. The alleged conspiracy benefited Kelsey’s unsuccessful 2016 campaign for the 8th District U.S. Congressional seat.
The indictment states that money was funneled from a state committee to Kelsey’s federal campaign, and illegal excessive contributions were made to the federal campaign and concealed from the Federal Election Commission.
His not guilty plea was accepted on several conditions: He must surrender his passport to the United States District Court, he cannot travel outside of Middle or West Tennessee, Eastern Virginia or Eastern Kentucky without prior approval from the court.
The court required as part of his release, that Sen. Kelsey must submit to supervision by and report to Pretrial Services.
In addition, as a part of the release, Senator Kelsey cannot travel outside the United States. Sen. Kelsey cannot be in possession of a firearm. He is prohibited from using alcohol, “excessively” or unlawfully possessing narcotics.
Kelsey (R-Germantown) represents much of suburban eastern Shelby County and parts of East Memphis in the state Senate.
He and his lawyer have called the indictment a “witch hunt,” saying Kelsey is innocent and would be cleared at trial.
“The Biden Administration is trying to take me out because I’m conservative and I’m the number one target of the Tennessee Democratic Party,” said Kelsey, who narrowly retained the seat by a 51-49 margin in a Nov. 2018 election against Democrat Gabby Salinas.
Kelsey has temporarily stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Education Committee.