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Kevin White asks federal judge to toss corruption charges

TAMPA — Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White asked a federal judge Tuesday to grant him a post-trial acquittal on corruption charges or to give him a new trial.

White's attorney argued in a motion filed in U.S. District Court that White's Nov. 9 convictions for conspiracy, bribery and fraud are improper. White was convicted of taking bribes in exchange for his influence on the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission.

But the PTC, which White chaired, did not receive any federal funding, leaving federal prosecutors with no jurisdiction in the case, according to the motion.

It's essentially the same argument White's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., made at trial earlier this month. U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore rejected the argument then, noting White was appointed by virtue of serving on the County Commission, and the county gets federal money.

But Tuesday's motion said "the only government entity that is noted as receiving federal assistance is Hillsborough County. It is also indisputable that Hillsborough County did not create the PTC. Likewise, it is indisputable that Hillsborough County exercised absolutely no control, whatsoever, over the PTC."

U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill has not yet filed a response to the motion.

White was convicted on seven of 10 corruption charges for accepting $6,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent seeking his influence to obtain a towing license from the PTC, which regulates tow trucks and other vehicles for hire.

White is free pending a Feb. 27 sentencing.

Reach William R. Levesque at levesque@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3432.

Kevin White asks federal judge to toss corruption charges 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:36pm]
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