Jury selected in Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot’s corruption trial

Posted at 7:46 AM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 18:17:27-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot's trial started Monday and a jury was selected around 6 p.m.

Burfoot is accused of not only using city funds for personal gain, but also of bribing developers and city business owners while he served as a city councilman, vice mayor and treasurer.

Jurors were asked if they could be fair and impartial and were forced to answer questions like if they knew anyone connected to the case, if they will suffer any hardships due to the anticipated length of the trial and if they have ever served on a jury which came to a verdict.

The judge also said that aspects of Burfoot's alleged extra martial affairs would be part of trial and asked the potential jurors if they could still be fair and impartial knowing that information.

They started with 75 potential jurors and hope to get 12 with four alternates by Tuesday.

The judge said the trial is expected to last a month, but said they would only be in court Monday - Thursday.

Dozens of people were issued subpoenas and many of them are high ranking officials.

The list includes former Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. Chief Deputy Treasurer Amy Ortega, Real Estate Tax staffer Wendy Petchl and other Norfolk City Treasurer’s Office employees were also issued subpoenas.

Also on the list are Norfolk School Board Chairman Rodney Jordan, Norfolk City Council members past and present to include the Vice Mayor Theresa Whibley, District 4's Paul Riddick, District 5's Thomas Smigiel and District 7's Angelia Williams Graves, Barclay Winn and Andrew Protogyrou.

Delegate Daun Sessoms Hester, Pastor Kim Brown, Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones, former city employee Barbara Zoby, Clerk of Courts employee Crystal Porter, the Clerk of Circuit Court George Schaefer, City Attorney Bernard Pishko, Assistant Director in the Planning Commission Lenny Newcomb, Steve Morales, Keith McNair and Shurl Montgomery are on the list as well.

Burfoot is accused of taking almost a half a million dollars in kickbacks.

Federal prosecutors said he got work done to his home, a Mercedes and cash for the mother of his children among other perks.

We reached out to Andrew Sack’s Burfoot’s Attorney – who declined an interview with us Monday citing the start of the jury selection but previously told News 3 his client is completely innocent.

“Anthony Burfoot has denied and will continue to deny that he received cash payments from anybody to cast a vote. It just didn't happen,” said Sacks.

Federal prosecutors accuse Burfoot of lining his own pockets in exchange to making deals with developers and business owners like Ronnie Boone who just plead guilty to bribery of city officials and bank fraud. He pointed a strong finger at Burfoot.

Court documents outline how the federal government will call numerous witnesses who will detail their own corrupt dealings with Burfoot.

There will also be several women who say Burfoot brought them to a beach house that they thought was his but in fact was owned by Boone, according to court records.

In documents federal prosecutors state they have video recordings of council meetings, along with bank, phone and other records as evidence for their case, including emails.

Court records indicate they’ll bring up Burfoot’s prior testimony during a case in 2013 to prove he lied under oath.

“He is stunned by these accusations. He believes so strongly in his innocence he's baffled he doesn't understand it,” said Sacks.


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