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FAYETTEVILLE -- A former Northwest Arkansas orthodontist accused of paying $157,500 in bribes to former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson pleaded not guilty Monday to all charges in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.

Windermere, Fla., resident Benjamin Burris, who operated orthodontics clinics across Arkansas, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and 14 counts of aiding and abetting honest services wire fraud, according to an indictment.

Prosecutors say Burris paid Hutchinson, a lawyer, legal retainers between 2014 and 2017 -- in $20,000, $5,000 and $2,500 checks -- that were actually payments for Hutchinson to pass laws and regulations that favored Burris' orthodontics practices.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty June 25 to one count of conspiring to commit federal bribery in connection with Burris' orthodontist clinics.

Burris' defense lawyers refused to comment after the hearing.

U.S. Magistrate Erin L. Wiedemann allowed Burris to remain free on $10,000 bond. H

NW News on 09/10/2019

Print Headline: Burris pleads not guilty

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