The Tennessee State Senate voted on Wednesday to expel a senator from office because of her conviction on federal wire fraud charges that involved grant money, the New York Post reports.
State Senator Katrina Robinson was accused of stealing $600,000 to pay for the campaign, her wedding as well as personal expenses before she was in office.
Robinson had denied any wrongdoing and said that her expulsion was "an attack on the Black vote."
On Wednesday, Robinson was removed from the legislature by a 27-to-5 vote after a recommendation from the Ethics Committee.
In a statement, Senate Speaker Randy McNally addressed Robinson’s removal from office.
“While the expulsion of a Senator for the first time in history was not something any of us wished to see, it was a necessary action,” McNally said.” The integrity of the Senate is of paramount importance.”
Robinson called her expulsion a “procedural lynching” and claimed the process was “racist” and “misogynistic” and mentioned various scandals by other state senators who were not removed from office.
“They determined she violated a criminal statute,” Republican state Sen. John Stevens said of her conviction. “How can we demand that citizens respect the integrity and reputation of the Senate if we disrespect them by ignoring their determinations?”
Robinson and some of her Democratic colleagues argued the vote should be delayed until March when she faces sentencing on two other charges. She was acquitted by a judge on 15 of 20 charges and a jury convicted her on four of the five charges of wire fraud.
A judge dismissed two of the four remaining charges and she was eventually convicted on just two of the 20 counts which amounted to $3,400 in wedding expenses in 2016, according to FOX 13.
“I feel beat up standing in front of you guys,” she said as she addressed the media. “And really I didn’t prepare any words because there are no words for what this is.”
Robinson represented Tennessee’s 33rd state Senate district, which included sections of Memphis and nearby suburbs. She had been serving in the Senate since 2018.
The expulsion of Robinson is the first time that a Tennessee lawmaker has been removed from office since 1866.