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Trial date set for ex-Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White

TAMPA — Somebody was doing a lot of talking.

The corruption case against former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White relies on 165 hours of audio and video recordings that defense attorneys expect to get on Monday.

U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill, who is personally trying the case, told a judge Friday about the tapes and said he expects the trial of White and a co-defendant to take two weeks.

Exactly what the tapes contain is unclear. O'Neill didn't say, though he told a judge most of that 165 hours is just audio.

U.S. District Court Judge James D. Whittemore set a tentative trial date of Sept. 26. But depending on attorney schedules, that could get postponed until October, attorneys in the case say.

Neither White nor co-defendant George Hondrellis, owner of Tampa City Towing, were required to appear at Friday's status conference, which was brief and fairly routine.

White's trial had been set for August after his arraignment earlier this month. But attorneys sought a continuance because of the complexity of the case.

White has pleaded not guilty to 10 felony charges, including bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to an FBI agent. Hondrellis, who has also pleaded not guilty, faces identical charges, except for lying to the FBI.

The indictment said White and his late father, Gerald White, schemed to take $8,000 in bribes and a 2003 Lincoln Navigator from three men, one of whom was Hondrellis. The charges carry maximum sentences ranging from five to 20 years in prison.

The three men said they wanted a permit from the county Public Transportation Commission, which White chaired, to be put on a lucrative list of towing companies doing work for the Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, an indictment said.

Unknown to White, who was once a Tampa City Council member and a police officer, one of the men was a federal agent and another was a government informant. White left office in November after being trounced in a Democratic primary.

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3432.

Trial date set for ex-Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White 07/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2011 11:55pm]
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