A federal indictment was handed down today against a state senator from Central Iowa. U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker says a federal grand jury for the southern district of Iowa indicted Matthew McCoy of Des Moines with one count of "extortion under color of law" under the federal Hobbs Act Statute. That measure involves public officials getting money they’re not entitled to, for the performance of official duties.
The accusation by a man who works at a home security company says he’d asked McCoy to get Medicaid approval for a product to monitor elderly people, but then found McCoy demanding money and threatening to get the government contract canceled. The grand jury decided that through his special position as a state senator he could approach the Medicaid office and "make a difference, different from what an ordinary citizen could do."
If convicted of the alleged offense, McCoy would face up to 20-years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Whitaker says that threat led to the extortion charge.
McCoy today said that’s not how it happened. "It was not in any way extortion," McCoy says. "There was no fear of force or harm or financial harm to these individuals." He calls it a "case of nonsense." McCoy says he’s baffled why his former partner went to authorities, and why the prosecutor "participated in this kind of cat-and-mouse game." He says, "it almost seemed like it was kind of a targeted deal from Day One." McCoy says he’ll be exonerated in the trial.