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Bearden contractor pleads guilty to conspiracy

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 19, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.

EL DORADO — A contractor has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in a case that accuses the Ouachita County judge of awarding a disaster-relief contract in exchange for a campaign contribution.

Harry Clemons Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with major disaster benefits. He was indicted in January 2013 along with County Judge Mike Hesterly.

The indictment alleges Hesterly hired Clemons to help clean up the county after October 2009 storms in exchange for a campaign contribution.

The Camden News reported that Clemons remains free on bond and will be sentenced at a later date.

Hesterly is set to go to trial next month. His attorney, Jamie Pratt, declined to comment on Clemons' change of plea.

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