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Senator Matthew McCoy Facing Indictment

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DES MOINES - An Iowa state senator is facing a federal charge of attempted extortion.

Sen. Matthew McCoy is accused of trying to extort money from a former business partner. But the Democrat, who has represented areas of Des Moines since 1996, says he has done nothing illegal.

"I know this is a walk through hell, but I am armed with the truth, and the truth is, I did nothing wrong," says McCoy.

McCoy is accused of demanding the owner and an employee of Security Plus pay him $100 every time the business installs security systems in seniors' homes. If the employee refused, McCoy allegedly threatened to use his influence in the state Medicaid office to have the business removed as a Medicaid vendor. But McCoy claims the charges are retaliation after a business relationship went awry.

"This was a dispute between two parties, business partners, one of the parties soured and made accusations against the other party," says McCoy.

McCoy says he's known the Security Plus worker for more than 15 years, and that they were even in Alcoholics Anonymous together. McCoy says in this case, his political position was a disadvantage.

"We are held to higher standards as elected officials, but also it means we are susceptible to people to make accusations against us," says McCoy.

And the accusation is he accepted about $2,000 in payments -- money that prosecutors say looked like it came from the business, but really came from the FBI.

McCoy's arraignment is set for March 29. Conviction would come with up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. McCoy says he will continue his responsibilities as a state senator and will do his best to serve his constituents.

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