(WJBK) - State Sen. Bert Johnson is one step closer to trial.
A federal judge hammered out details that could set the stage. The FBI raided Johnson's Highland Park home a year ago and now we may hear more about the public corruption charges against him.
The feds say Bert Johnson used a ghost employee to pay his debts but Johnson says he is innocent. Soon a jury will hear both sides in a case that could determine his political career.
The Michigan state Senate was in session Tuesday morning, but Sen. Bert Johnson wasn't there. He was on his way before going to trial next month.
The feds say his troubles started in 2013 when he needed money for his son's high school tuition and his own bills at University of Detroit Mercy. Johnson allegedly turned to Glendis Thornton for a loan. In 2014 Johnson put Thornton on his Senate payroll.
The feds say Thornton did no work and it was all part of a scheme to repay Johnson's debt with your tax money. The FBI searched Johnson's home in early 2017, he was indicted in April.
FOX 2 learned in court that the feds offered Johnson a plea deal of six to 12 months in prison.
Johnson told the judge he rejected that deal.
A guilty plea in this case could pretty much squash Johnson's political ambitions as well as a conviction. The charges have already impacted Johnson's political career, if Johnson weren't preparing for trial he would probably be running to replace U.S. Rep. John Conyers.