Evans, from Jackson, and Malone (the wife of ex-state Rep. Bennett Maloneof Carthage) are among eight people currently accused of paying kickbacks or bribing Christopher Epps, former state corrections commissioner to secure and maintain contracts with prisons. Evans and Malone were charged by federal prosecutors in July. Both were originally set to stand trial this fall. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate moved the trials to January 9 for Malone, and April 3 for Evans. Both pleaded guilty to the charges that they had paid Epps in order to obtain contracts from the Mississippi Department of Corrections. According to indictments, Evans and Malone are also accused of mail fraud in schemes to bribe Epps. Epps pleaded guilty to the charges in February 2016. He will be sentenced later this year, after several reschedules. Epps’ attorneys and the prosecution disagree on the financial consequences of Epps decisions for the state. Cecil McCrory, a Rankin County businessman, pleaded guilty to one count of bribing Epps in February. However his attorney said he would withdraw that plea. Texas businessman Mark Longoria will be sentenced on Oct. 13. July 25, he pleaded guilty to funneling kickbacks via McCrory’s company Investigative Resources Inc. August, Sam Waggoner, a former lobbyist, pleaded guilty to a single-count bill to information. He bribed Apps in order to obtain favorable treatment for a company that offered inmate phone services. A bill of Information is a legal accusation from the government that does not require a grand jury. It is often used by defendants who agree to enter a guilty plea. Former state senator Irb Benjamin, Corinth, has been scheduled for trial on Oct. 3. He has pleaded guilty to the three-count charge of bribing Epps and using the mail to further the scheme. Because of a time limit, the judge Wingate was asked by the prosecution to set a new trial date. Robert Simmons, a former Gulf Coast Supervisor, was one of the first to plead guilty. He has not yet been sentenced. Reddix was charged with bribing Epps in order to secure and keep contracts for his inmate-medical-services firm. Wingate resigned in August and Judge Daniel Jordan was appointed as the judge. Simmons pleaded guilty to a complex kickback scheme where he paid money for contracts with Epps and Harrison County supervisors. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.