Appeals court rejects new trial for former Va. lawmaker

Former Del. Phil Hamilton, left, arrives at federal court with his wife, Kim, and attorney David Sacks, right, prior to being convicted on two counts of bribery and extortion charges stemming from his securing a job he helped create with taxpayer money in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, May 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to order a new trial for a former Virginia legislator serving 9 1/2 years in prison for bribery and extortion.

The ruling Tuesday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a judge’s August decision denying Phillip A. Hamilton’s bid for a new trial.

Hamilton is a Newport News Republican who was vice chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He was convicted in 2011 of soliciting a job as director of an Old Dominion University teacher training center he helped create with taxpayer money.

In his bid for a new trial, Hamilton claimed that a star prosecution witness lied to investigators and in court. The appeals court found no error in a judge’s conclusion that the statements did not amount to newly discovered evidence.

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