Madison Mayor's Husband Indicted

Published: Oct. 28, 2004 at 2:08 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 6, 2006 at 12:47 PM CST
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The third arrest involving a public corruption investigation in Madison county nets the husband of an elected official.

James Butler, the husband of Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, was picked up Wednesday on a five count indictment.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler says her husband is innocent.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind what kind of man Jim Butler is, what kind of person he is, what kind of heart he has," Mayor Butler said.

James Butler was indicted on five charges related to the alleged scheme to defraud an elderly woman from Texas out of the true value of her Madison county land.

Mayor Butler says her husband was lied to by former Madison County Supervisor David Richardson, who recently pleaded to a conspiracy charge in the case.

"He (James Butler) trusted a friend and believed in a friend of his since he was 6 years old.. so we will see," Mayor Butler said.

In Richardson's deal, he agreed to testify against codefendant Don McGraw, and provide information regarding Butler's involvement.

McGraw has already been indicted.

Madison County District Attorney David Clark says Richardson's statement, along with other witnesses, lead to Butler's arrest.

We asked the mayor if her husband feels betrayed. She responded saying, "I just know that Jim is a person who does trust people. He judges people by what he would do, so sometimes we are surprised."

Late Wednesday night Clark told WLBT, "If Mr. Butler is innocent, why did he not return his half of the approximately $700,000 in profit that David Richardson now has admitted was fraudulently taken...and has plead guilty to a felony to that wrongful taking?"

Mayor Butler was unable to answer all our questions because it is an ongoing case.

Butler, who has been mayor for 24 years, says her husband has lived in the area all his life and people know what they are both about. "What we've done speaks for what we believe in." the mayor said.

Butler's charges include 1 count of conspiracy, 1 count of false pretense, and 3 counts of mail fraud.

If he's found guilty, Butler faces 23 years in prison.

Clark says Mayor Butler is not suspected of any wrongdoing. He believes she is "a wonderful lady."