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Former State Rep. Luis Arroyo Pleads Guilty To Federal Bribery Charges

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Former Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges accusing him of bribing a former state senator in exchange for his support on sweepstakes-related legislation that would benefit one of Arroyo's lobbying clients.

Arroyo, a Democrat from Chicago, entered a blind plea to one count of wire fraud during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger, meaning there is no agreement with prosecutors on a recommended sentence.

His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 18, and he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Arroyo, 67, resigned from the Illinois House in November 2019, just days after he was first charged.

About a year after Arroyo was indicted, federal prosecutors added a co-defendant to his case, accusing Arroyo and video sweepstakes company owner James Weiss to pay a state senator $2,500 a month in kickbacks in exchange for his support on legislation beneficial to the video gambling industry.

Prosecutors said the two concealed the payments by setting up a sham consulting contract, and sending a check from Weiss' company, Collage LLC, to a person chosen by the senator.

Weiss is also accused of bribing Arroyo for his support for the same legislation. Weiss has pleaded not guilty, and his trial date has not been set.

According to the charges, on Aug. 2, 2019, Arroyo offered to arrange for Weiss to bribes to the senator in return for the senator's support of the proposed sweepstakes legislation.

Three weeks later, Arroyo delivered a $2,500 check to the Senator from Weiss' sweepstakes operation, and told the senator identical payments would continue for 6 to 12 months.

According to the FBI, the meeting was being recorded, and Arroyo told the senator "I'm going to give you this here. This is, this is, this is the jackpot."

In October 2019, Weiss sent the senator a package containing another $2,500 check, and a sham consulting contract.

Weiss later lied to the FBI when he was questioned about the scheme, according to prosecutors.

According to published reports, Weiss is the son-in-law of former Cook County Democratic Party chair Joseph Berrios.

Federal prosecutors have not identified the senator they bribed in court documents, but multiple published reports have identified the lawmaker as former State Sen. Terry Link.

Link resigned from the Illinois Senate last year, just days before pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, admitting he under-reported his income by tens of thousands of dollars in 2016.

Link has publicly denied he is the state senator involved in Arroyo's case, but he cooperated with federal prosecutors as part of his own plea deal, and according to published reports he wore a wire as part of the investigation into Arroyo.

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