Kennewick Defense Attorney is Arraigned in Deal Scam - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick Defense Attorney is Arraigned in Deal Scam

YAKIMA, Wash. - The United States Attorney for Eastern Washington said it's one of the worst cases of public corruption.  And on Wednesday, Jeff Finney had to answer to charges of bribery and conspiracy in federal court. 

Finney, a fomer Benton County defense attorney, stood up in federal court in Yakima and pled not guilty to charges he pocketed thousands of dollars in phony deals with his clients.

It's alleged assistant City of Kennewick Prosecutor Tyler Morris would send defendants to Finney who would work up a fake deals with them.  Defendants who fell for the scam said they were told the money was headed to a Kennewick city charity program called "Home Base".  In exchange for the cash, their convictions were dismissed.

Finney has openly admitted he was hooked on drugs and said he was stealing money from his clients to fuel the addiction.  Finney's lawyer would not say whether he'll testify against Morris and the U.S. Assistant Attorney would not comment whether a plea deal would be cut with Finney.

Morris faces more serious charges of theft and soliciting a bribe.  He's set to be arraigned Thursday in federal court.

Investigators are not saying how much money the two pocketed but it could far exceed the early estimates of $40,000.