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Atkinson Apologizes, Admits To Misusing Funds, Resigns Senate Seat

CARSON CITY (AP) —  Democratic Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson says he's resigning immediately after admitting to misusing campaign funds for personal use.

 

Atkinson apologized in an emotional speech on the floor of the state Senate on Tuesday and said he was embarrassed, ashamed and would be pleading guilty to charges he faces.

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The Democrat did not offer details about the charges he faced because it was ongoing matter in court.

 

It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

 

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Atkinson says he let his supporters down and is praying for their forgiveness.

 

The Nevada Senate Democrats' Executive Director Cheryl Bruce said in a statement Tuesday that the North Las Vegas senator would resign because of charges he faces that "are serious and allege conduct that we strongly condemn."

The statement did not offer further details and Bruce did not respond to an emailed message seeking further details.

Bruce says Assistant Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro will become the acting Senate leader.

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Atkinson was first elected to the Assembly in 2002 and to the state Senate in 2012.

He was the first black, openly gay member of the Nevada Legislature in 2013 when he came out during a debate in the Senate on same-sex marriage.