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Maddox, Carter-Smith Plead 'Guilty' In Federal Corruption Probe, 39 Of 42 Charges Dropped

Ryan Dailey

Former City Commissioner Scott Maddox and former Downtown Improvement Authority head Paige Carter-Smith  plead guilty Tuesday to federal charges related to a corruption investigation into the the City of Tallahassee.

Maddox and Carter-Smith pleaded guilty to three of 42 charges relating to bribery involving city contracts and vendors. The remaining 39 charges were dropped by federal judge Robert Hinkle.

The federal government says Maddox and Carter-Smith used the firm Maddox founded, Governance, to solicit payments from potential vendors in exchange for favorable votes and support.

Both could face up to 45 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, though Federal Judge Robert Hinkle could lower the sentence if Maddox and Carter-Smith help federal prosecutors with the case. The two will face sentencing on Nov. 19.

Carter-Smith, Maddox were whisked away from courthouse without making any comment.

When asked by Judge Hinkle whether they'd had alcohol in the last 24 hours, both Maddox and Carter-Smith said yes. Carter-Smith said she had two glasses of Jack Daniels while Maddox said he wad Woodford.

The guilty pleas come on three charges, one count of tax fraud and two counts of extortion, relating to taking payments from Uber in exchange for an ordinance vote and taking money from an FBI front company.

Maddox was Tallahassee's first elected Mayor and previously served as head of the Florida Democratic Party.

Local businessman J.T. Burnette was charged in the case in May and is expected to appear in court later today. Federal prosecutors say they're ready to go to trial. 

Check back later on for more updates to this story.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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