Calvin Williford, the chief of staff to former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, this morning pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Williford, 60, is expected to be sentenced in three or four months and faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fine. He also could be ordered to pay up to $50,000 in restitution.


Williford appeared shaken after the court appearance. His attorney, Brian Gaddy, said Williford had no comment but regretted his actions.


The Public Integrity Section of the the Department of Justice represented the government in court today. Williford was described as cooperative with the government’s investigation.


In court, Williford acknowledged collecting checks for political action committees controlled by Sanders, who was the county executive from 2007 through 2015. He said that in some instances, checks were cashed with cash coming back to himself and to Sanders for their personal use.


Also, Williford said he knew the Sanders political action committee did not fully report some donations to the Missouri Ethics Commission, as required by law.

Sanders is expected to appear in federal court this afternoon on charges related to wire fraud in connection with the use of campaign funds. Sanders also is a former Missouri state Democratic Party chair.

The Examiner's Jeff Fox is following this news and will have more information as soon as it is available.