Judge to change plea in El Dorado - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Judge to change plea in El Dorado

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EL DORADO, Ark. (KNOE 8 News/AP) - A change of plea hearing is scheduled for a former Ouachita County judge charged with defrauding the federal government.

Federal prosecutors accused James Michael Hesterly of awarding a Federal Emergency Management Agency contract in exchange for a campaign contribution. Hesterly had initially pleaded not guilty to fraud and bribery charges, but a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in El Dorado for Hesterly to change his plea.

Ouachita County received the FEMA money to help clean up after storms hit the area in October 2009. Contractor Harry Clemons Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in the case in March.

Hesterly resigned as county judge earlier this year.

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