State Sen. McCoy Not Guilty of Extortion

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By Becky Ogann

DES MOINES (AP) - A federal jury has found state Senator Matt McCoy not guilty of extortion.

He was accused of threatening to use his influence as a senator to force a business partner to pay him $2,000.

Defense attorneys said the business partner, Thomas Vasquez, was paid by the FBI to act as an informant and secretly taped meetings and conversations with McCoy over several months.

If he'd been convicted, McCoy would have faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours Thursday before returning its verdict.

Right after the verdict was read, members of McCoy's family sobbed. Outside the courtroom, supporters let out a cheer after learning the verdict.

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