After responsible verdict, J.T. Burnette’s legal professionals ask for acquittal
Attorneys for John “J.T.” Burnette requested the choose in his public corruption trial to acquit him on the 5 counts that resulted final month in responsible verdicts in opposition to the distinguished businessman.
In a movement filed Monday, his legal professionals cited testimony from former Mayor Scott Maddox and his girlfriend Paige Carter-Smith that they argued clears their consumer. The 2 testified in opposition to Burnette, their co-defendant, throughout his federal trial, which started in July and wrapped in August after pandemic-related delays.
Extra:Jurors convict distinguished Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette on public corruption costs
Jurors convicted Burnette on 5 of 9 counts, together with costs of extortion and mail fraud, and acquitted him on 4 different counts, together with participating in a racketeering conspiracy. Maddox and Carter-Smith had been sentenced final week to 5 years and two years in jail, respectively, on bribery costs.
Such motions are routinely filed by protection legal professionals — however they’re solely hardly ever granted by federal judges. U.S. District Choose Robert Hinkle dominated in opposition to a protection movement searching for an acquittal on the finish of the trial.
The court docket submitting says Burnette can solely be accountable for extortion if he “willfully” joined along with Maddox to commit against the law. It asserts there was no such plan involving undercover FBI brokers posing as reps from a fictitious agency, Southern Pines Growth.
Southern Pines despatched 4 $10,000 checks to Maddox and Carter-Smith’s lobbying agency, Governance, in 2016 and 2017. The 2 had been convicted on a mail fraud rely involving one of many checks. Burnette was convicted on two mail fraud counts involving two different checks.
“Maddox and (Carter-Smith) — each of whom had been cooperating authorities witnesses — rejected any chance that they had been concerned or complicit in any extortion plan,” the movement says.
Throughout cross-examination, Burnette’s legal professionals requested Maddox whether or not he was “a part of any plan to extort anyone.” Maddox responded with a “no.”
Extra on Maddox:
The movement additionally says Carter-Smith testified that she was by no means “knowingly” a part of any illegal exercise and thought the checks from Southern Pines had been for legit lobbying in Leon County for the Fallschase growth.
Final week, Maddox was sentenced to 5 years in federal jail, and Carter-Smith was sentenced to 2 years on three bribery-related costs. Burnette, a developer and enterprise proprietor whose holdings embody the DoubleTree Resort, can be sentenced Oct. 28.
Burnette’s legal professionals embody Tim Jansen of Tallahassee and Greg Kehoe of Tampa, who filed the movement. The federal government has not but responded to the submitting.
Contact Jeff Burlew at [email protected] or comply with @JeffBurlew on Twitter.
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