It was a who’s who of Norfolk in the federal courthouse for City Treasurer trial

Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 20:29:14-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Prosecutors rested their case against Anthony Burfoot in his corruption trial on Tuesday.

Norfolk City officials past and present were called to take the stand.

Former Mayor Paul Fraim was the first witnesses to take the stand for the defense followed by Councilwoman Angela Williams-Graves, Delegate Dawn Hester, Former Councilmen Andrew Protogyrou and Barclay Winn.

Defense Attorney Andrew Sacks asked city officials if Burfoot had ever asked them for special treatment in regards to Ronnie Boone, Dwight Ethridge, Tommy Arney or the development group Tivest. All who testified Tuesday said they had not seen Burfoot asking for special treatment.

Ethridge, Boone, and Arney are the key witnesses for the prosecution.  All three men testified they gave Burfoot bribes in exchange for his support as a councilman for years.

Under cross-examination Winn told the jury he made a joke years ago saying Burfoot never pays for a drink on Granby Street. He also testified the two men were friends.

Delegate Hester said she is friends with Burfoot and didn’t want to see him in trouble but also testified that she would never lie on the stand to protect him. She said he never asked her for special treatment when it came to Boone, Etheridge, Arney, or Tivest.

Prosecutors allege that Burfoot had Ethridge pay $1,000 for a car loan, stayed at Boone’s beach house and had the group Tivest pay for appliances at Burfoot’s house.

Fraim testified, “of course” that information like that should have been disclosed under the current laws but he said he never saw any of the alleged activity and was never pressured to vote in support of Burfoot’s alleged business associates.

Burfoot is on trial for perjury and political corruption.

Federal prosecutors allege that he would take bribes for years in exchange his support and votes when it came to city council votes.

All three key witnesses are convicted felons.

The defense said the accusations are lies, “The case has a tremendous amount of weakness to it. It has not been the overwhelming hammer that the indictment suggested initially that it would,” said Sacks.

Prosecutors alleged that a lot of the corruption was going on when Burfoot was a councilman and vice mayor.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday at 10 a.m.


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