City Treasurer testifies he never took bribes and tears up about Broad Creek

Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 19:20:12-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Anthony Burfoot took the take the stand in his own defense Thursday for five hours.

He testified that he never took bribes from anyone while in office.

Burfoot got emotional when he talked about the transition of Broad Creek and his help redeveloping the area.

In court Thursday the defense went over each vote that has been in question and Burfoot said he voted in a way that he felt was best for the city.

He denied taking money or having work done to his house by the group Tivest.

Burfoot did admit Dwight Etheridge, the owner of Tivest paid for $13,000 worth of appliances, but he testified that Etheridge owned him $10,000 for a loan he gave him years prior.

Burfoot testified he gave Etheridge the cash difference.

Burfoot's testimony was opposite of the prosecutors witnesses.

On Wednesday, the former city manager Regina Williams-Gates was asked about the votes she was involved and said Burfoot never solicited her for support for the developer Tivest or Etheridge.

Wednesday we also heard from several of Burfoot’s family members like his brother-in-law, sister, and mother-in-law. They testified they did not see Dwight or Curtis Etheridge doing work at Burfoot’s home.

The Etheridge brothers testified they gave Burfoot money, appliances, and did renovations to his home.

Tuesday Burfoot’s relationship with the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority was dissected in court.

The NRHA executive directors - past and present – Churl Montgomery and John Kownack - both took the stand and said they didn't see Burfoot giving special treatment to the group Tivest.

Dwight Etheridge, Tommy Arney and Ronnie Boone previously testified they gave bribes to Burfoot.

Sacks said his defense witnesses, which included city officials and leaders are more creditable than the prosecutions three key witnesses who are all convicted criminals.

“These are professionals. They have no criminal records. They are people of accomplishments. They are people that have no motive,” said Sacks.

Federal prosecutors indicted Burfoot last January for perjury and political corruption.

He's facing eight felony charges. They say he took almost a half a million dollars in cash, had renovations done to his home, and got other perks in exchange for his support on city council when he served as a Councilman and Vice Mayor.

The defense has more witnesses expected to testify.

“There's been a lot of finger-pointing and we have a lot of responses. We have a lot of people who are on the scene at the time to refute these things and we think it's important that information get out,” said Sacks.