FAYETTEVILLE, AR – Earlier in August, a former FBI agent pleaded guilty to intentionally destroying evidence back in 2017 in a case that saw a former pro-Trump state senator sentenced to over 18 years in prison for fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering charges.

Back in May of 2018, former Arkansas state senator Jon Woods was found guilty on 15 of 17 charges related to general corruption, and he was sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison.

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But early on in the case against Woods, there was controversy surrounding FBI Special Agent Robert Cessario, who admitted on the stand in 2018 during Woods’ trial that he’d intentionally wiped the hard drive from a computer that contained audio recording evidence related to the case.

Cessario’s excuse for completely wiping the computer’s hard drive at the time wasn’t because he was attempting to conceal evidence in the Woods case, but that he was trying to ensure his personal medical records contained on the computer didn’t get somehow outed during the trial.

Obviously, the aforementioned excuse didn’t stick the landing in the long run, as Cessario was eventually canned from the FBI, criminally charged, and pleaded guilty on August 17th to intentionally destroying evidence.

In the plea agreement Cessario signed earlier in August, he admitted to being “one of the primary agents investigating, and assisting in the prosecution of, defendants in the United States vs. Woods,” and during the course of the investigation, he outright wiped his hard drive that bore crucial evidence in the case.

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And Cessario didn’t just wipe the hard drive once – he did it twice – to ensure the “contents of the computer’s hard drive unavailable for forensic examination.”

“In my capacity as a special agent and as part of the investigation, I obtained recordings from a cooperating defendant. I placed these recordings on a government computer that had been issued to me for use in conducting covert operations that would not be traceable to a government computer. I knew that these recordings pertained to the prosecution in the United States vs. Woods et al.

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I took the computer to a commercial computer business and paid that company to ‘wipe’ the computer. I personally performed another procedure to ‘wipe’ the computer. I erased the contents of the computer hard drive knowing that the Court had ordered that the computer be submitted for a forensic examination. I did so with the intention of making the contents of the computer’s hard drive unavailable for forensic examination.”

The former FBI agent, despite pleading guilty, was issued a $5,000 bond while he awaits his sentencing, meaning he can still be a free man up until whenever the court decides to reconvene, which is concerning when considering the fact that Cessario is facing up to 20 years in prison for the offense he pleaded guilty to.

This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on August 20, 2022. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.

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