Criminal Justice

Paralegal takes federal plea in fake-bribery case


A former paralegal for a Missouri criminal defense attorney has taken a plea in a convoluted fake-bribery case linked both to a client of her ex-boss and a St. Louis County prosecutor she knew.

Jillian Nichols, 26, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court in St. Louis to wire fraud and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She admitted the scheme, which the feds said she set up on her own, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

After moving to a new job, the government says, Nichols continued to contact a client of her former boss and told him she could help him get a break from the prosecutor if he paid $10,000, said U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith during a court hearing. But the former client contacted the FBI and went to a Dec. 10, 2013 meeting with Nichols at a suburban St. Louis restaurant wearing a wire. After he handed over $5,000 in cash, Nichols was arrested.

The prosecutor now works in another county.

Nichols could get probation or as much as 18 months when she is sentenced in September. Her lawyer declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper after the hearing.

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