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  • Key stories about the Espy probe

  • Independent counsels at a glance

  •   The Espy Probe at a Glance

    Thursday, December 3, 1998; Page A06


    January 1993:
    Rep. Mike Espy (D-Miss.) becomes President Clinton's first agriculture secretary.

    September 1994:
    Independent counsel Donald C. Smaltz is appointed to investigate reports that Espy took football tickets, travel and other gifts from Tyson Foods Inc. Smaltz later expands the investigation to other companies.

    October 1994:
    Espy announces he will resign at the end of the year.

    Smaltz pursues more than a dozen separate cases against companies and lobbyists connected to Espy, plus Espy's associates and family members.

    August 1997:
    Espy is indicted on 39 corruption counts. One count is later dismissed. He pleads not guilty.

    Oct. 1, 1998:
    Opening statements by Smaltz and Espy defense attorney Ted Wells.

    Nov. 18:
    Smaltz concludes case. Defense calls no witnesses.

    Nov. 24:
    U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina throws out eight charges against Espy, leaving 30.

    Dec. 1:
    Jury begins deliberations.

    Dec. 2:
    Jury acquits Espy on all counts.

    Among those convicted in Espy Probe:

    Ronald H. Blackley: Espy's former chief of staff, found guilty of making false statements concealing money he received from prohibited sources.

    Richard Douglas: Former Sun-Diamond Growers official, found guilty of giving Espy and others illegal gratuities.

    Alvarez Ferrouillet: Chairman of congressional campaign of Espy's brother, found guilty of interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering and false statements regarding illegal contribution to Henry Espy's campaign.

    James H. Lake: Lobbyist, pleaded guilty to illegal contributions to Henry Espy's campaign.

    Jack L. Williams: Tyson Foods lobbyist, found guilty of making false statements concealing knowledge of gratuities and a scholarship for Mike Espy's girlfriend.

    Crop Growers Corp., John J. Hemmingson: Firm pleaded no contest to making illegal contributions to Henry Espy's campaign and falsifying records of contributions. Executive found guilty of interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.

    5M Farming Enterprises, Brook K. Mitchell Sr.: Pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining USDA subsidies.

    Sun-Diamond Growers of California: Found guilty of giving Mike Espy illegal gratuities and making illegal contributions to Henry Espy campaign.

    Tyson Foods Inc.: Pleaded guilty to giving Mike Espy illegal gratuities.

    SOURCES: Staff research, Associated Press

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