Judge denies motions for new trial, acquittal in Burfoot corruption case

Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, after a jury found him guilty of public corruption and perjury charges. Credit: WAVY-TV 10 Photo

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk judge on Wednesday denied all motions filed in the corruption case of City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot.

Defense attorney Andrew Sacks filed several motions after a jury found Burfoot guilty on six of eight charges last December.

Sacks asked for a new trial and acquittal on three of the charges. All of these motions were denied at a hearing Wednesday in Norfolk.

Sacks argued that the jury failed to deliberate fully and follow the instructions. He pointed out the fact that the trial lasted for five weeks, more than 91 witnesses took the stand and even the jury instructions took almost two hours.

The jury came back with a verdict five hours later. Sacks argued that there was no way the jury could have considered all the evidence in that time.

Prosecutors told the judge there is no required time limit for a jury to deliberate and that sometimes, the jury comes back quickly and other times, much longer.

The judge said he believes the jury did its job and denied that motion along with the rest of them.

“As I indicated to the court, we are going to appeal and that’s definite,” Sacks said. “This is part of the process. We have to start with the motions. We had hoped they would be granted, but we understand the judge’s position, but we will move on from here.”

After court, 10 On Your Side asked Burfoot how he was doing.

“I’m doing okay,” Burfoot answered.

Special coverage: Burfoot corruption trial

WAVY’s Jason Marks reports Sacks is planning to file two new motions.

The first motion would pertain to the testimony of Norfolk developer Ronny Boone Sr., and how his health may have impacted his testimony.

Boone’s health was cited as a factor when he was sentenced to house arrest for bank fraud and bribery. The well-known developer pleaded guilty last September to bribing high-ranking Norfolk city officials, including Burfoot.

The second motion concerns the relationship between Dwight Etheridge and Councilman Paul Riddick.

Sacks says once Etheridge was released, Riddick held a fundraiser for him to raise money for rent and other expenses, and that Riddick gave Etheridge a job.

WAVY’s Jason Marks spoke with Riddick, who denied holding any fundraisers for Etheridge, but said that he did hire him. Riddick said Etheridge is a “utility man” for him, meaning he’s doing a little bit of everything.

Burfoot is scheduled to be sentenced April 17.

10 On Your Side will have full coverage of the sentencing on air and online.