As expected, former North Little Rock Alderman Cary Gaines, has struck a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in his indictment for public corruption. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and other charges in the multi-count indictment were dropped.
Prosecutors will still recommend enhanced sentencing for his abuse of the public trust, but a part of the plea agreeement was filed under seal. It undoubtedly pertains to his cooperation in the trial begining tomorrow of Alderman Sam Baggett and George Thompson of Cabot, a reputed mobster with whom Gaines admitted talking with by e-mail about bid rigging in North Little Rock.
Gaines told the court he had conspired to get landscaping and concrete projects for a vendor chosen by Thompson. The vendor would pay kickbacks used to pay off Gaines' gambling debts.
Gaines was released on his existing bond by Judge Leon Holmes. Sentencing is scheduled for April.
Outside the courthouse after his appearance, Gaines said that he would testify in the upcoming trial, but said he hasn't appeared before the Grand Jury and is not scheduled to appear. Before walking off with his attorney Chuck Banks, Gaines expressed remorse about his involvement, saying: "I'm sick about betraying the trust of the people of North Little Rock."