Sen. Bert Johnson in federal court for 'ghost employee' allegations

- State Senator Bert Johnson left federal court Tuesday, free on $10,000 bond.

Johnson (D-Highland Park) once told FOX 2 that "Bert Johnson pays his bills" but the problem, according to the federal government, is that he may have used your money to pay some of his bills.

"We understand and we respect the government's position that all politicians should be above reproach," said attorney Cyril Hall. "That we agree with. We feel that (along with) that obligation, is the obligation for the government to seek the truth."

Hall is defending Johnson for allegations the senator used taxpayer dollars to pay off a personal loan.

The feds say Johnson paid a woman believed to be Glynis Thornton more than $23,000, but didn't require Thornton to do any work as part of a scheme to pay off loans she gave the senator totaling $14,000.

Hall says it is a great story, just not a true story.

"We think we should have been afforded an opportunity to come and speak and maybe we could have given our side or our version with respect to this," said Hall.

Thornton has been convicted playing a key role in a bribery scandal involving an education achievement official Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp. Thornton was on Johnson's senate payroll during the same time she was kicking school money back to Wilbourn Snapp.

Hall says that's why Thornton is now accusing Johnson of being a crook.

"He was dragged into this particular matter by someone who it appears has sustained a conviction and needs a benefit for purpose of sentence.

Johnson did not speak much in court or outside. Hall says he will supply plenty of evidence that Thornton did work while on his staff - just not Tuesday.

Johnson will go to trial this summer, if convicted he could spend 10 years in prison.

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