Ex-FBI agent pleads guilty to destroying evidence in order to frame pro-Trump Arkansas Republican

by WorldTribune Staff, August 19, 2022

A former FBI agent pleaded guilty to allegations that he purposely destroyed evidence in order to frame a pro-Trump state lawmaker in Arkansas, a report said.

The ex-agent, Robert Cessario, entered the guilty plea as part of a deal reached with prosecutors after he was charged with “corrupt destruction of record in an official proceeding” in connection to the corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Jon Woods of Springdale, KATV reported on Aug. 18.

The charges against Cessario stem from his actions as an FBI agent in the corruption trial of Woods, who was convicted of mail fraud and 14 counts of wire fraud in 2018.

“I erased the contents of the computer hard drive knowing that the court has ordered that the computer be submitted for a forensic examination. I did so with the intention of making the contents of the computer’s hard drive unavailable for forensic examination,” Cessario stated in the plea deal.

“At the time, I knew that the contents of the hard drive were relevant to an official proceeding, that is, Cause No. 5:17-CR-50010, United States v. Woods et al. I corruptly performed and had performed, the erasures with intent to impair the integrity and availability of the computer hard drive and its contents for use in that official proceeding,” the statement said.

Cessario faces up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of as much as $250,000.

Woods, who had endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, was convicted of steering state funds to Ecclesia College in Springdale in exchange for kickbacks, KATV noted.

Cessario’s plea deal comes on the heels of the highly criticized raid of Trump’s Florida residence last week, which he and his allies have claimed was entirely political in nature.

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