Ex-County Judge Pleads Guilty To Bribery Charge

Jun 11, 2014

A former Ouachita County judge has pleaded guilty to a bribery charge involving a Federal Emergency Management Agency contract to clean up debris following October 2009 storms in the county.

Court documents show that James Michael Hesterly entered the plea Wednesday as part of an agreement in which other charges against him were dropped.

Hesterly's attorney did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Federal prosecutors say Hesterly awarded the nearly $70,000 contract to contractor Harry Clemons Jr. of Bearden in exchange for a $4,000 campaign contribution from Clemons.

Clemons pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy in the case as part of a plea agreement. Hesterly resigned as county judge earlier this year.