Senator Hemmings says wife is innocent of theft charges
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One day after his wife was sentenced for stealing from a charity she used to run, state Senator Fred Hemmings insisted that she's innocent. Lydia Hemmings was sentenced Wednesday to one year of probation, a $4,500 dollar fine and 150 hours of community service.
She pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor theft charges.
Thursday the senator blamed the whole thing on a disgruntled employee who was fired from the organization. He says the grand jury was wrong to believe the employee's story. Hemmings says they decided to take a plea deal and settle the case because it would've cost too much to fight and would've caused too much turmoil.
"Not one cent was missing. When you use the word steal, that means something was taken and nothing was taken. There were two audits of Blueprint for Change and the organization, including its board of directors, defended my wife. This was brought about because of one fired employee" said Hemmings.
Attorney General Mark Bennett says Lydia Hemmings had prior convictions of forgery and theft in 1991, and they treated this case like any other.
"An independent grand jury found probable cause to believe she committed these crimes. She told a judge she was guilty and she signed a written plea agreement that said 'I plead guilty because I believe that I am guilty'. If she was innocent, she should have plead not guilty and gone to trial" said Bennett.
Senator Hemmings said it would've cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for defense attorneys and his wife just wanted to put the whole thing behind her.
More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:
Wife of veteran State Senator Fred Hemmings sentenced for theft
Senator's wife pleads not guilty to felony theft
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