Rep. Richard Kelly (R-Fla.) pleaded innocent here yesterday to bribery and racketeering charges arising out of the FBI's Abscam "sting" investigation, and continued to assert that the charges against him are politically motivated.
Kelly entered his innocent plea before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Wiliam B. Bryant, and the congressman's attorney immediately filed a motion thatthe case be transferred to Kelly's home state. Two other codefendants in the case, Eugene Ciuzio of Florida and Stanley Weisz of New York, also entered innocent pleas before Bryand yesterday.
Kelly, who has admitted taking $25,000 in cash from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking immigration favors for a phony Arab sheik, maintains that he took the cash only because he was conducting his own investigations of "shady characters."
He asked President Carter yesterday in a letter to open all of the Justice Department's files about him in the case -- including videotapes of him accepting money -- to the public and the press immediately. Kelly, who faces a September primary election, said it is unfair for the department to selectively leak information about the case, and that all of the material should be made public.
"I want the American public to see what happened to me," Kelly said in one of two news conferences yesterday. "I want the press and people to see those tapes."
Bryant set a hearing for Aug. 15 on Kelly's motion to transfer the case to another jurisdiction. No trial date has been set.