NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot will testify Thursday morning in his public corruption trial.
“I made the decision. I need to take the stand,” Burfoot told the judge.
Andrew Sacks, Burfoot’s attorney, says he’s sure his client’s testimony will help to clear his name.
“He is innocent and he wants to tell the jury that he is innocent,” Sacks said. “There have been a lot of ugly things said about him that aren’t true. There have been a lot of ugly allegations and I think he has looked forward to tell his side of what really happened and didn’t happen.”
Prosecutors say Burfoot took more than $400,000 in gifts and in return, he promised favors, such as making sure Tivest Construction got developing projects in Broad Creek.
“If these theories of the government were true, there should be evidence that Mr. Burfoot should be picking these people [developers] and lobbying for them to be picked,” Sacks added. “There is no evidence of that.”
Witnesses for the defense continued discussing Burfoot’s involvement in the Broad Creek project Wednesday. Norfolk Schools Chairman Rodney Jordan was one of those witnesses.
Jordan was a commissioner for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) at the time Broad Creek was being built.
“We worked together on the project,” Jordan testified.
Jordan said Burfoot was very pushy to NRHA staff, but it was out of necessity. He told the jury the project was a first in Norfolk, meant to transform what was once low income housing. Jordan said Burfoot wanted everything to be perfect.
Prosecutors say Burfoot was making decisions on brick color, style of mailboxes and landscaping for Broad Creek. The government believes any decisions on the project had to go through him. Prosecutors say he would decide who developed the properties, too.
Bruce Leuthold was involved in the day to day operations for NRHA and Broad Creek. He told the jury Burfoot would treat Tivest harder than other developers. He also said Burfoot’s passion was the reason Broad Creek was a success.
On cross examination, prosecutors asked Leuthold if he was ever allowed someone to make a decision on anything dealing with Broad Creek without consulting Burfoot. His answer was no.
Attorneys even pointed to an email Leuthold wrote to a co-worker, which questioned Burfoot’s involvement with selling NRHA properties. Leuthold called it a dangerous position.
When he was asked about that email, Leuthold said, “I guess that was my view at the time.”
10 On Your Side will have continuing coverage of this developing story. Stay with WAVY.com for the latest updates.