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Special Prosecutor Appointed to Review Senator Accused of Ethics Violations

On Friday, the State Ethics Commission found that Democratic Senator Paul Bookout had misused thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into a state senator accused of ethics violations.

On Friday, the State Ethics Commission found that Democratic Senator Paul Bookout, of Jonesboro, had misused thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

The special prosecutor will review the ethics commission's findings and determine if there should be a criminal investigation.

Senator Bookout has repaid all the misappropriated money, but says he will not resign.

Prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington issued the following statement on Monday:

"After spending much of the day in court and also reviewing this matter, I am requesting that Bob McMahan, the Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator, nominate a special prosecutor to be appointed by the court to further review the Ethics Commission's findings and determine whether a criminal investigation should be conducted. I suspect the special prosecutor will call for a state police investigation, but will leave that to his or her discretion.

"I specifically believe that it is appropriate for me to call for a special prosecutor to handle this matter because Sen. Bookout and his family attend my church. Further, three of my deputy prosecutors are members of the same law firm as one of Sen. Bookout's attorneys. Therefore, I believe that my recusal and the subsequent appointment of a special prosecutor is appropriate because of the aforementioned personal and professional conflicts."
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