Ex-Congressman TJ Cox blames politics for federal charges. He plans ‘vigorous’ defense

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Upon his release from Fresno County Jail Tuesday evening, former Fresno Congressman Terrance John “TJ” Cox said he looks forward to defending himself against a slew of federal charges.

Earlier Tuesday, Cox, 59, appeared in U.S. District Court in Fresno facing 28 charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, financial institution fraud, and campaign contribution fraud.

“I was facing charges today. We pled not guilty and look forward to vigorously defending those allegations,” Cox said.

Cox told reporters outside the jail that he learned of his imminent arrest at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, and he agreed to surrender at Fresno County Jail, where he remained most of the day, aside from his arraignment.

Cox, who was accompanied by his attorney, said he had not read the indictment yet upon his release from jail. He said the hours in jail provided him a time to reflect, and he commended both federal agents and local corrections officers for their professionalism.

“They deserve our support,” he said.

“All I can tell you is that I’ve been here for 20 years. I’ve always been trying to help the community, make life a better place for all of us,” Cox said.

Cox attributed the charges against him to politics.

@sacramentobee Here are the #money #fraud charges against former #Fresno #Congressman #TJCox. The Democrat was arrested by the #FBI on Aug. 16. #politics #congress ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) - Danilo Stankovic

“As you know, we served for a couple of years. We got a lot done for the city, and for this region, and hopefully, that’ll continue under people that are looking to serve the people,” he said. “But I tell you what, politics is a tough game. I wouldn’t be in this position today but for the politics, and I think we all know that.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Oberto approved a conditional release from jail for Cox.

Cox, a Democrat, served a two-year term representing the 21st Congressional District in 2019 and 2020. If ultimately convicted, he could face prison time and substantial fines.