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Pettagrue Pleads Not Guilty

Birmingham, AL – The Rev. Samuel Pettagrue has pleaded not guilty to charges that he illegally paid state Sen. E.B. McClain with money from grants.

Pettagrue, 65, was accompanied by attorney Hube Dodd Wednesday and was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond. He entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam.

The retired pastor of Sardis Baptist Church is named alongside McClain in a 50-count indictment with charges ranging from money laundering to conspiracy and bribery.

McClain is accused of steering $700,000 in state funds to Pettagrue's nonprofit groups and the reverend is accused of paying the senator more than $312,000 from those funds.

McClain pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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