Democratic state Sen. Katrina Robinson expelled from Tennessee legislature following federal fraud convictions

Things are generally not looking good for Democrats in 2022, and not just at the national level in Congress, but also in many states across the country.

One example is the recent expulsion of now-former state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) from the Tennessee legislature following her conviction last month on federal fraud charges, Fox News reported.

The state Senate, following a recommendation from its own ethics committee, voted Wednesday by a margin of 27-5 to expel Robinson from the legislative body. She was still serving her first term after being elected to that office in 2018.

Racism, sexism, and a “procedural lynching”

Fox News noted that, in a speech delivered on the Senate floor prior to the expulsion vote, Sen. Robinson decried what she viewed as injustice and accused the GOP-controlled body of acting with “racist” and “misogynist” motives in a “procedural lynching” against her as a black woman.

Further, albeit without naming names, she highlighted the apparent unfairness of her situation in light of the potential legal troubles currently or recently faced by several other members of the state Senate who had not similarly faced punishment or expulsion votes.

“The decision has been made, and I want the people of Tennessee to know, this is a show,” Robinson declared during her speech, according to local CBS affiliate WREG. “It’s not a fair process. It’s not been a fair process throughout.”

Robinson, backed by a few other Democrats serving in the state Senate, had called for the expulsion vote to be delayed until after a March 3 sentencing hearing for the pair of federal fraud charges she had been convicted on, but those pleas were ignored and Senate overwhelmingly voted to send her back home to Memphis.

Charges and convictions disputed

For what it is worth, there is some room for debate on whether this action against Sen. Robinson was appropriate and at the proper time, as there are pending questions about the federal charges she faced.

According to local Fox affiliate WHBQ, Robinson was indicted on a slew of federal charges in July 2020 that related to accusations she had fraudulently stolen roughly $600,000 in federal grant funds for a nursing school she ran, money she allegedly used to finance a wedding and for other personal expenses.

In the end, though, she was acquitted on 15 of 20 charges and then convicted on four of the five remaining wire fraud charges, though the judge in her case eventually threw out two of those convictions, leaving her guilty of only two counts.

Robinson, in an interview with the Tennessee Lookout prior to the expulsion vote, further explained that those two convictions — out of an initial 48 federal charges — equated to roughly $3,500 and were being appealed. Meanwhile, she has racked up extensive debt in legal fees and has suffered in terms of her personal business and relationships with family and friends.

The Democratic state senator also alleged racism and sexism in that interview as the driving force behind her impending expulsion, and said she was but the latest in a long line of examples of “the criminal justice system ripping Black political power away from these communities.”

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