Skip to comments.First 'Waltz' conviction made
Posted on 02/18/2006 9:24:58 PM PST by SmithL
CHATTANOOGA - A federal court jury convicted the first public official to face trial on corruption charges from the Tennessee Waltz undercover sting.
Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton, 58, was convicted Saturday on one count of conspiring with lobbyist Charles Love to obtain $4,750 in bribes in return for the commissioner supporting a resolution to benefit E-Cycle, a phony company created by the FBI for the undercover investigation.
Cotton also was convicted on one count of attempted extortion, but was acquitted on a second attempted extortion charge.
Both charges carry up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Cotton showed no emotion when he heard the verdict from the jury, which deliberated for about 17 hours over three days. Cotton left the courtroom hurriedly with family and friends and declined comment after Senior U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar told him he could remain free on bond pending a May 2 sentencing.
Hours of secret FBI audio and videotapes of encounters between Cotton, Love and undercover agents posing as E-Cycle executives were the heart of the government's case. The jury of seven men and five women reviewed key portions of those tapes before reaching a verdict after three days of deliberation that began Thursday.
The jury foreman, Dustin Donahue of Birchwood, declined to discuss the deliberations, saying only that the government's recordings of a Nashville meeting with Cotton and Love where an undercover agent handed an envelope containing $6,000 to Love "was the biggest thing."
Prosecutors said the tapes proved that envelopes with thousands of dollars in cash given to Love were payoffs for Cotton's influence helping the company advance its proposal with the county commission.
Defense attorney Hank Hill put on only a one-hour defense that also relied on the tapes. He argued that the government offered nothing but "innuendo and supposition, not proof."
Hill said after the verdict that he was unsure if there would be an appeal.
Seven officials - including five current or former state lawmakers - have been indicted in the undercover sting that became public in May.
That's what they get for hiring a cartoon character as their attorney.
BTW, no party affiliation?
Sounds reasonable. The MSM ALWAYS refers to the opposite party as "A Conservative Republican".
Cotton is a democrat. Six more democrats and one Republican yet to be tried.
Further, there was an on-going investigation about voter fraud that got him re-elected. ---All typical dem ploys.
I hope he is put away for a looooong time!
My favorite version is Patti Page's.
1 down, 6 to go! With john ford being the king pin.