Judge orders Burfoot to step down as Norfolk city treasurer

Anthony Burfoot arrives at federal court April 19, 2017 to be taken in to custody and begin serving a six-year prison sentence. Credit: WAVY/Erin Kelly

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A judge ordered Anthony Burfoot to forfeit his office as Norfolk city treasurer during a court hearing Monday.

Burfoot is serving a six-year sentence at Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg for public corruption and perjury. He maintained his innocence when he self-surrendered to federal court last Wednesday to begin serving his sentence.

Special Coverage: Burfoot corruption trial

In court Monday, Burfoot’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, argued the state code that calls for forfeiture of office is unconstitutional.

The law essentially states that forfeiting office happens only after someone has exhausted all appeals under Virginia law. However, Burfoot is appealing federal law. Still, the judge ordered him to step down before his appeals process carries out. Sacks tried to say the law violated his rights.

The judge disagreed. Sacks says he plans to appeal.

10 On Your Side’s Deanna LeBlanc asked him why, since Burfoot is already behind bars and can’t run for reelection.

“First of all, there’s the matter of his own personal honor and integrity and how he views himself,” Sacks responded. “He was elected to do a job, he shouldn’t be removed from it unless and until it is mandated by law. And he doesn’t feel that’s what the law requires, so it’s an important principle to him.”

Sacks also said an appeal is the practical thing to do. While suspended, Burfoot drew a salary and benefits, which were held in escrow. If Burfoot won his appeal, he’d be able to get that money.

Now that Burfoot has been ordered to forfeit his office, he won’t get any more money. His salary that was held in escrow will be returned to the city and the state, according to a tweet from the Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

Batliner, who started the petition to remove Burfoot from office, said Monday that he considers the judge’s ruling closure.