FILE — Former Arkansas Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, right, arrives at the federal courthouse in Little Rock with his attorney, Tim Dudley. – Photo by Staton Breidenthal Benjamin Burris, an orthodontist who operated clinics across Arkansas, has been charged with 15 counts of bribing former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson to pass laws to benefit Burris’ businesses, the U.S. attorney’s office in western Arkansas announced Monday. Burris paid Hutchinson $157,500 between February 2014 and November 2016 — via checks of $20,000, $5,000 and $2,500, according to a 20-page federal indictment filed Friday. Hutchinson, then a practicing lawyer, was paid monthly retainers that nominally were for legal services. But he was also expected to introduce and lobby for laws or regulatory changes that Burris wanted, the indictment says. Formerly of Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Burris now resides in Windermere, Fla., and will be arraigned later and will plead innocent, according to a spokesman for the orthodontist. “Dr. Burris has long been a tireless advocate for improving patient well-being and increasing access to dental care. We are disappointed that the government has chosen to disregard clear and compelling evidence that undermines these charges, and we plan to mount a forceful defense,” said a spokesman… Read full this story
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