- Associated Press - Friday, December 9, 2016

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A federal jury on Friday convicted a Norfolk official of taking bribes to help businessmen working on development projects, including a proposed gentlemen’s club.

But Treasurer Anthony Burfoot still plans to go to work Monday and “not abandon the job that he was elected to do,” his attorney told reporters.

Defense lawyer Andrew Sacks said the conviction isn’t final until it’s accepted by a judge and Burfoot is sentenced. The local U.S. attorney’s office said Burfoot faces five to 20 years in prison at his April sentencing.

“This is not the final word,” Sacks said as Burfoot stood quietly next to him outside the federal courthouse. “Yes, it’s a disappointing turn, but it’s not the end.”

Burfoot, 48, is Norfolk’s treasurer but previously served on the City Council and as deputy treasurer, according to the Virginian Pilot (https://bit.ly/2glz8M1).

Prosecutors alleged that Burfoot got more than $400,000 for favorable votes and other assistance on development projects. And developers testified that they gave Burfoot cash, a luxury automobile and use of a beach house. Bank records showed he deposited $56,000 in cash over five years.

“Anthony Burfoot violated the sacred trust we place in our elected officials and in doing so his greed eclipsed his vision for building up his own community,” Dana J. Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement late Friday.

Burfoot has denied wrongdoing. He said on the witness stand that he never took any money and always voted for what he thought was in the city’s best interest.

A recall effort to remove Burfoot from office was postponed until after his criminal trial by a judge earlier this year, the Pilot reported.

The trial lasted for nearly five weeks. It included testimony from 91 witnesses and thousands of pages of documents. The jury returned the corruption verdict after 5½ hours, although it found him not guilty of some perjury counts, the Pilot reported.

“We are extremely disappointed,” Sacks said. “And I think what I’m disappointed at most is the speed with which the deliberations took.”

Sacks told reporters that he hadn’t carefully studied a city charter that bans convicted felons from serving in office. But he said it shouldn’t apply until sentencing.

He said Burfoot will appeal the conviction.

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