MILLINGTON, TN (abc24.com) - The indicted mayor of Millington is opening up about life, love, and those six hours he spent behind bars. For the first time, Mayor Richard Hodges is talking in-depth about what got him into trouble and what happens next.
"I know in my heart what was said, I know in my heart I was innocent, and I know in my heart it is going to work out," Hodges tells abc24.com.
Hodges was hard at work at Millington City Hall on Thursday, December 1, 2011, as he prepares to retire on January 13th.
He was arrested in mid-October and charged with two counts of bribery. He calls the six hours he spent in the Shelby County Jail eye-opening.
"It was rough," he says. "It was rough."
Hodges won't comment on whether he gambled at the Transmission Doctors, a local business that is part of the focus of a 10-month investigation by local and state authorities.
"Be careful who you pick as your friends," says Hodges. "I will be saying that, and watch what you say with your tongue, whether you mean it or not, because people can take it as you mean it."
Hodges says he hasn't had the chance to grieve for his wife Rita, who committed suicide in their Millington home in late July, just as that investigation was intensifying.
"I feel it coming." Hodges says while reflecting on the grieving period. "I have held it off too long, and she deserves better then that."
Mayor Hodges says he would consider a plea deal. He hasn't been offered one though, and he says he would only accept it on one condition: he doesn't have to plead guilty.
"Well, I'm 62-years-old," he says, "and I guess everyone gets foolish in their old age. I don't know. One thing can trip you."
Hodges was born in Millington, built a career in the Memphis suburb, and has been mayor for years.
"I hope people will judge me by what I did right, and not what I did wrong," he says.
He's due back in court in early January.