Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Star Witness" In Campbell Trial Now on Cross

Georgia businessman Ronnie Thornton, described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (here) as the government's star witness in the prosecution of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, completed his direct testimony.  Thornton testified that he provided Campbell with over $125,000 in "campaign contributions" in the names of fictitious contributors in exchange for a $300 million dirt hauling contract related to the construction of a new runway at the airport, but that he was betrayed when the Mayor awarded the contract to another company.  The cross-examination immediately focused on the usual soft-spot for some prosecution witnesses: the cooperation agreement that reduced Thornton's sentence to probation and a fine, and the government's decision not to pursue other fraud charges against him.  Thornton asserted that charges in an unrelated case were never filed because there was no basis for a criminal charge, but whether that is in fact true may be irrelevant to whether the jury finds him to be a credible witness.  The government had initially stated that its case would take five weeks, and this is the fifth week, so the prosecution's case-in-chief may be coming to a close.  (ph)

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Corruption, Prosecutions | Permalink

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