published Friday, July 11th, 2014

Michelle Nunn to return cash linked to ex-con

ATLANTA — Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidate, Michelle Nunn, will return contributions linked to a political operative convicted in a 1995 bribery case who recently co-hosted a fundraiser for her, a campaign spokesman said Friday.

Spokesman Nathan Click said Nunn was unaware of Virtual Murrell’s criminal history.

“We haven’t and won’t be depositing any contributions from him or anything he raised for the event,” Click said in a statement.

It was not known how much money Murrell donated or raised for Nunn. The amount of contributions received during Tuesday’s event in Washington, D.C., was not disclosed.

The fundraiser featured Nunn’s father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, a moderate Democrat who represented Georgia for years. The Senate race is among a dozen being watched nationally as Republicans look to take control of the Senate, and Nunn is considered among the top Democratic recruits this year with a campaign crafted to woo independents.

Murrell, a former assistant to a city councilman in Oakland, California, was sentenced in 1995 to a year and a day in prison for accepting a bribe from a developer doing business with the city. Prosecutors had said Murrell had received $10,000 in illicit payments, and Murrell pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Hobbs Act, a federal law often used to prosecute public officials for accepting bribes.

Efforts to reach Murrell on Friday were not successful.

Details of Murrell’s background were first reported by National Review, which also described him as an early member of the Black Panther Party, although the extent of his role in the movement was not immediately clear.

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