MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This likely comes as a surprise to no one. Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey plans to change his not guilty plea to federal campaign finance charges.
His attorney asked the federal court in Nashville to schedule a change of plea hearing for the longtime state lawmaker, which means Kelsey is no longer claiming the five count indictment against him is a political witch hunt orchestrated by the Biden administration.
The claim was already a shaky one, but it completely fell apartment last week when Kelsey's codefendant, Nashville club owner Joshua Smith, pleaded guilty to his role in the campaign scheme. Smith's lawyer said his client was prepared to cooperate with prosecutors, which was bad news for Kelsey, because no one believes that Smith would plead guilty to a witch hunt. His involvement in this mess was solely to benefit Kelsey.
Here's what should happen now. Once Kelsey officially changes his plea, which hopefully will come sooner rather than later, he should immediately resign. The winner of the District 31 senate seat in the November 8 election should be sworn in right away. Even though the legislature is not in session, Kelsey is no longer fit to serve.
Legislative leaders, who expelled Democratic Sen. Katrina Robinson after her conviction on far less serious charges, should insist that Kelsey step down or expel him also. It's only fair.