Phipps campaign debt

The former campaign treasurer for Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps has pleaded guilty to six counts in connection with a probe into Phipps' campaign finances.

Linda Saunders appeared in federal court in Greenville this morning. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, two counts of extortion, two counts of money laundering and one count of structuring a transaction to avoid federal currency reports.

Saunders, who was indicted on 17 counts, faces sentencing on August 18th. She could receive a maximum of 90 years in prison and a two million dollar fine.

Assistant United States Attorney Dennis Duffy told federal judge Malcolm Howard that Saunders used the money that she extorted as a state official to pay off Phipps' campaign debts. Specifically, Duffy said Saunders provided money to a member of the Phipps family that was used to repay bank debts.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)