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Hodge Pleads Guilty & Midday Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

State Rep. Terri Hodge has pleaded guilty for participating in a bribery scheme and will resign from office. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas announced Wednesday that Hodge pleaded guilty in Dallas to fraud and false statements on an income tax return.

She faces up to three years in prison, a $100,000 fine and restitution to the IRS. A sentencing date has not been set.

Hodge has agreed never again to hold public office. The Dallas Democrat has been a state representative since 1996 and was running for re-election.

According to court documents, Hodge received more than $32,000 in rental subsidies, utilities and carpeting from an apartment developer who built complexes in her district. She never declared the funds as income on tax returns.

Hodge's attorneys did not immediately respond to messages.

Press Release Follows:


February 3, 2010


(Dallas, Texas) Today, State Representative Terri Hodge released the following statement regarding the closing of her reelection campaign:

"I am sad to inform you that as of today I will end my campaign for the Democratic nomination for State Representative of the 100th Legislative District of Texas.

"I have reached an agreement with the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas whereby I will enter a plea of guilty to one criminal charge alleging that I made false statements by failing to report income on my personal tax returns. I freely admit that I violated the federal income tax laws in this regard, and I am prepared and willing to accept the consequences of my actions.

"As a result of my guilty plea to a criminal tax violation, I will not be able to continue to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience continue to seek reelection and I believe that the only appropriate action for me to take is to immediately terminate all of my campaign activities. I will immediately begin the process of closing the affairs of my district office in an orderly manner, and will resign my seat in the Texas House of Representatives effective at the time I am sentenced by the court.

"I want to take this opportunity to express my remorse to my colleagues in the Legislature, my friends, and my family for my actions. Most of all, I want to apologize to all the citizens of District 100 for letting them down. It has been an honor to serve you for these last 14 years and I am truly sorry that my actions will prevent me from providing a voice for you in the Legislature. My prayer is that my successor will stand up and fight for the people of our District in the future.

"Because of the ongoing legal proceedings in my case, I will not make any further public statement concerning this matter until the Court has assessed my sentence. I ask that the press respect my request that my family and I not be contacted for any further statement concerning this matter."

US Rep. Barton has stake in gas wells

Interviews and records show that U.S. Rep. Joe Barton has earned nearly $100,000 from an interest in natural gas wells purchased from a campaign donor who advised him on energy policy.

The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday cited land records show the Republican from Arlington purchased his interest from Walter G. Mize.

Mize, who died in January 2008, was a Cleburne businessman who donated more than $30,000 to Barton's campaign and urged him to create a federal oil and gas research program that was included in a 2005 energy law.

Barton says his investment is legal and was publicly reported in accordance with federal law and ethics rules. He says his investment doesn't conflict with his legislative responsibilities. Congress is considering energy legislation that would boost demand for natural gas.

Dallas police say baby in bank robbery getaway car

Federal officials say a woman robbed a Dallas bank with her 4-month-old premature baby in the getaway car.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday the baby boy - who was on oxygen because he was born prematurely - was exposed to noxious fumes from the exploding dye packet in the money but was not injured. The baby's in the custody of a family member.

A federal grand jury indicted Inequa Rushing on bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery charges Tuesday. Her attorney didn't immediately return a call Wednesday.

After the Jan. 19 robbery, police found Rushing's purse in the bank parking lot. Dye-stained money and Rushing's identification were inside. Rushing and the getaway car driver were arrested later.

Weather looking good for weekend shuttle launch

NASA is predicting good weather for this weekend's space shuttle launch.

Endeavour is scheduled to blast off Sunday morning on the last major construction mission at the International Space Station. A new space station room is loaded aboard the shuttle, as well as a cupola with seven windows.

NASA officials said Wednesday everything is going well and that the countdown will begin on time early Thursday. There's a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather.

The six astronauts arrived at their Florida launching site late Tuesday. Commander George Zamka welcomed everyone to the night shift. He noted, "It's the only shift we've got."v Launch time is 4:39 a.m. All three spacewalks also will take place in the wee hours.