Otis Jackson agrees to pre-trial diversion - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Otis Jackson agrees to pre-trial diversion

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Former Shelby County General Session Court Clerk Otis Jackson agreed to one year pre-trial diversion on charges of official misconduct.

Jackson is accused of pressuring his staff to both contribute and collect money for his 2012 re-election campaign.

Tuesday's hearing before Special Judge Walter Kurtz was a far cry from October 2012 when Jackson's refusal to even take an oath to tell the truth almost landed him a contempt citation.

It was later discovered Jackson had filed paperwork to be recognized as a sovereign citizen. But, on Tuesday Jackson didn't exhibit his previous bizarre behavior which resulted in him reversing his decision to accept a similar offer at that time.

Jackson was indicted July, 2011 on four counts of official misconduct. The indictment resulted from a County Attorney investigation into allegations that Jackson compelled General Sessions court clerk employees to raise money for him during his re-election campaign in November 2010.
In a memorandum of understanding approved by the court Jackson is prohibited from running for public office or accepting appointment to any public office during the pendency of his diversion, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said.

The criminal charges against Jackson are deferred and prosecution suspended until successful completion of pre-trial diversion. Prosecution of the case may be resumed if conditions of the pre-trial diversion are not satisfied or terminated, DA Weirich added.
By law, Jackson will be under the supervision of Shelby County Pre-Trial Services and he must adhere to the normal terms of pre-trial services conditions.

In accepting what amounted to the same offer from prosecutors as before, Jackson does not have to admit guilt but must keep a clean record for one year.

Jackson's defense attorney William Massey said while it was hard to get prosecutors to resurrect their offer, it was harder to get Jackson to change his mind - again.

"The most difficult thing was bringing Otis to the belief that this was the best thing for him to do," Massey said. "He really believed that being in Memphis and doing good for Memphis. He was trying to and he made a mistake and it was a small mistake. But, it was charged as a felony offense."

If Jackson had been convicted he could have received a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Massey says now Jackson just wants to move forward with his life.



FOX13 News reporter Les Smith contributed to this report.
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