McKINNEY, Texas (CN) – A jury convicted a state judge of felony bribery, and Susan Wooten on Monday agreed to serve 10 years of probation, resign from the bench and waive her right to appeal.
Wooten was accused last year of taking bribes to fund her 2008 election campaign in exchange for rulings from the bench.
Under an agreement announced outside the jury’s presence, Wooten, 43, acknowledged the jury’s guilty verdicts on six bribery counts and one each of money laundering, record tampering and engaging in organized criminal activity. She will also be fined $10,000 and must serve more than 1,000 hours of community service.
Wooten’s attorney Peter Schulte told The Associated Press that Wooten was disappointed with the guilty verdicts, but was “ready to move on with her life.”
The indictments accused David and Stacy Cary of giving James Spencer, Wooten’s campaign manager, as much as $150,000 to fund her 2008 campaign in exchange for favorable rulings in her court. The indictments describe six payments, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, that allegedly were paid from Jan. 4, 2008, to March 14, 2008.
Schulte told the Morning News in October 2010 that Wooten did not know the Carys and had not presided over any cases involving them. He called the indictments “completely ridiculous” and said they were part of a political vendetta that Collin County District Attorney John Roach had waged against his client.
Keith Gore, attorney for the Carys, called the case “a politically motivated witch hunt.”
Wooten defeated longtime incumbent Judge Charles Sandoval in the Republican primary in 2008. Roach, the district attorney, is also a Republican.
In July of 2010, Wooten alleged in court filings that Roach was intimidating and harassing her and that his office was seeking her resignation.
During her trial before a Collin County jury, Wooten testified that she knew nothing about improper donations. Her attorneys said she had taken a pay cut to serve on the bench.
McKinney, the seat of Collin County, is about 30 miles north of Dallas.