Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Ex-commissioner Kevin White likely headed to prison, but for how long?

TAMPA — Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White is probably going to prison when he is sentenced Monday on federal bribery and corruption charges.

The question remains: For how long?

White's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., filed a sentencing memorandum on Thursday with the first concrete hint of the time behind bars White may face under U.S. sentencing guidelines.

The U.S. Probation Office, which presumably has no allegiances to either the defense or prosecutors, filed a report with the court saying a guideline sentence for White is 41 to 51 months, Irvin's memo said.

But neither Irvin nor prosecutors agree with that figure.

Prosecutors, the filing said, say guidelines call for a prison term of 51 to 63 months. Irvin disagrees, and said the guideline sentence should range from 21 to 27 months.

The sentencing range is only advisory, and U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore is free to impose a lesser or greater sentence. In fact, Irvin still could argue for a sentence of probation or house arrest.

Judges rarely depart from the guidelines. Irvin and U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill have declined to comment about the case.

But in the case of a high-profile public official, there is always an element of unpredictably. Statutory maximums on White's convictions are 20 years, though if history is any guide, it is unlikely the judge would impose a sentence close to that.

A jury found White guilty in November on seven charges, including bribery, wire fraud and lying to the FBI. Prosecutors said White, when serving as the chairman of the Public Transportation Commission, traded his influence for cash.

The PTC regulates vehicles for hire, and prosecutors said White agreed to help get PTC licenses for tow truck operators who wanted to be placed on a lucrative towing list used by law enforcement.

Federal sentencing guidelines are complex and are based on numerous factors, from a defendant's prior record (White has none) to the amount of money obtained in an illegal act.

Irvin said in his memo that prosecutors and probation officials have misapplied the law in calculating guidelines.

First, Irvin said, prosecutors maintain that White obtained more than $10,000 in bribes. The law calls for a longer sentence for anything at or above that figure.

But Irvin said prosecutors in their calculation used a 2003 Lincoln Navigator that White's father received from an FBI informer, a transaction the defense says had nothing to do with the son. Also, the father made a $1,500 down payment for the vehicle, which indicates it was not a bribe, Irvin said.

Sentencing law also calls for harsher sentences for some public officials. But Irvin said White did not, by himself, have decision-making authority over the PTC, and therefore a longer sentence is not warranted.

William R. Levesque can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3432.

A federal judge Thursday denied without comment a request by former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White to extend his sentencing hearing Monday by 90 minutes.

Attorney Grady Irvin Jr. asked the court for the extra time because so many people wanted to speak on White's behalf before his sentencing on bribery and corruption charges. Irvin said as many as 15 people may want to speak, and the lawyer said the half-hour scheduled isn't enough to accommodate so many speakers.

But U.S. District Court Judge James D. Whittemore denied the request, though he did not say why, court records show.

The judge denied the request "without prejudice," which essentially left open the possibility he may reconsider and allow more time on Monday.

Comments
After 9-5 win, Rays head back to Boston a different team: Here’s why

After 9-5 win, Rays head back to Boston a different team: Here’s why

BALTIMORE — When the Rays last saw Boston, they were trudging out of Fenway Park after a sweep by the Red Sox that left them with a 1-8 record that marked a very low point in their young season.They'll be back at Fenway Friday night, and riding...
Updated: 4 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for April 26

Thursday’s scoreboardBaseballPCAC Championship: Northeast 6, Dunedin 5SoftballClass 3A, District 5 Semifinal: Admiral Farragut 10, Indian Rocks Chr. 0Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Final: Osceola 4, Braden River 2Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

TAMPA — Vita Vea loves to tell the story about the trip he took to French Polynesia with some University of Washington students. The group came upon some enormous rocks."Their strongman competition is they have a tradition where they lift rocks...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
NFL draft: Florida Gators’ Taven Bryan goes to Jaguars at No. 29

NFL draft: Florida Gators’ Taven Bryan goes to Jaguars at No. 29

Former Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan gave the Gators a first-round pick for the sixth consecutive year, after being drafted by the Jaguars at No. 29 overall.The 6-foot-4, 291-pound Wyoming native was one of the most talented players in the dr...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

BALTIMORE — LHP Jonny Venters ran through some pretty good emotions Wednesday night when after battling through a series of elbow injuries, he made it back into a major-league game for the first since 2012 — with a four-pitch out and a ga...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

Lakewood High alumnus and former Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was drafted No. 23 overall Thursday by the Patriots.Wynn becomes one of the highest drafted offensive linemen in Tampa Bay history and the first Pinellas County player to go in th...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Bucs GM Jason Licht has assembled enough talent to win

Bucs GM Jason Licht has assembled enough talent to win

TAMPA — Another busy offseason. Another first round of the NFL draft. Another interesting night.And, through it all, Bucs general manager Jason Licht has looked pretty darn good.He spent the past couple of months patching his offensive line, sp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL draft: Chargers take FSU’s Derwin James with No. 17 pick

NFL draft: Chargers take FSU’s Derwin James with No. 17 pick

Former Florida State safety Derwin James fell farther than expected Thursday in the first night of the NFL draft before being chosen by the Chargers with the No. 17 overall pick.James became the fifth former Seminoles defensive back ever drafted in t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Whether you're a fan of the Bucs, Gators, Seminoles, 'Canes or Bulls, you'll want to follow our live coverage of the 2018 NFL draft today through Saturday in Arlington, Tex. We'll have live news, commentary, photos, videos, stories and more, so come...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputy, another driver injured when car strikes patrol vehicle

Deputy, another driver injured when car strikes patrol vehicle

LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy and another driver were injured when a sports car hit a sheriff’s sport-utility vehicle on Thursday evening, according to the Sheriff’s Office.Both were expected to survive.The crash took place just after 6 ...
Updated: 1 hour ago