Appeals court upholds bribery conviction of former Hillsborough County commissioner

Published April 1, 2014

TAMPA — A federal appeals court has upheld the bribery conviction and prison sentence of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida announced Monday.

White, 49, was convicted by a jury of federal bribery and corruption charges in 2011. In 2012, U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore sentenced him to three years in prison, telling White that his crimes "overshadowed all the good you have done for your constituents."

The jury heard evidence that White had taken $6,000 from an FBI agent posing as a businessman seeking to curry favor with the county's Public Transportation Commission, of which White was chairman. White lost his seat on the County Commission in the 2010 election.

The investigation was conducted while he served on both boards.

White's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., said he is sure White and his family are disappointed with the ruling.

"My office will review the ruling in conjunction with Mr. White, and thereafter a decision will be made whether to seek further relief within the time frame allotted before the ruling becomes final," Irvin said.

White had appealed his conviction and sentence to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, asserting that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to convict him and that his sentence was excessive, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

But the court upheld the conviction and three-year sentence, finding that there was "ample evidence" to support the charges, federal prosecutors said.

White still has pending civil matters, Irvin said. A judge ruled in a civil suit that the county's insurance provider should've covered White's attorneys fees. White is pursuing a bad faith claim against the insurance company, Irvin said.

"Perhaps the criminal matter will be laid to rest so he and his family may now focus on the significant civil suit which continues to be litigated," Irvin said.

White is serving his sentence at a medium-security federal prison in Atlanta and is scheduled to be released in January.