Disgraced former state senator Ralph Shortey pleaded guilty in federal court to child trafficking charges. It's part of a plea deal where prosecutors agreed to drop child porn charges.
Shortey didn't even acknowledge our cameras as he entered the federal courthouse. Once inside the courtroom he played the role of politician, shaking hands with prosecutors and smiling. Shortey was caught in March in a Moore motel room with an underage male prostitute. The 35-year old ultra-conservative former senator gave one-word answers today, admitting he contacted the teen on social media and offered to pay him for sex.
“He's ashamed," said defense attorney Ed Blau. "He's embarrassed. He's humiliated. He feels terrible for putting his family through this. He feels terrible for his constituents. If he could go back and take every bit of the back, I think he would."
Blau asked the judge to allow the former senator to remain free on bond until his sentencing to get his affairs in order.
"He has a wife. He has four children all under the age of 17. They homeschool their kids so they're obviously having to go to public school now. And the sole breadwinner of the family is going into custody."
But the judge turned down the request.
"Even though we had shown that he was not a flight risk and since he's been on bond," Blau said, "he wasn't a danger to the community. Because of the statute, the judge had to take him into custody."
Even though Shortey walked into the courtroom smiling, he walked out head hung low and hands cuffed behind his back. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life.