Bobby Thompson's testimony delayed in U.S. Navy Veterans Association trial

Bobby Thompson, whose real name is John Donald Cody, ran a charity that claimed to benefit Navy veterans from an Ybor City office.
Bobby Thompson, whose real name is John Donald Cody, ran a charity that claimed to benefit Navy veterans from an Ybor City office.
Published Nov. 6, 2013

CLEVELAND — Bobby Thompson's appearance on the stand will have to wait.

Early Wednesday, his attorney's wife went into labor with the couple's second child.

Barring other interruptions, court will resume Tuesday with Thompson's long-awaited testimony.

Thompson, 66, has been accused by Ohio's attorney general of fraud, money laundering and theft in connection with his operation of U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

The Tampa charity raised more than $100 million nationwide but gave little assistance to veterans.

Over the past four weeks, the prosecution has produced witnesses who testified that Thompson could not prove that any of the charity's directors existed. Its state offices were mail drops. And Thompson had a dozen fake identities, including the name he used in Tampa.

Early in the trial, the defendant acknowledged that his real name is John Donald Cody. Cody is a Harvard-trained lawyer who was a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army until 1985. During testimony earlier in the trial, Navy Veterans' former lawyer said Thompson told her the charity received funds from the CIA. In court filings, Thompson said he remained a covert CIA agent after his discharge from the military.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Brad Tammaro introduced evidence that showed that even as Thompson was running Navy Veterans through mid 2010, he was building an arsenal of aliases. In 2005 and 2006, he opened two bank accounts in Tampa using the name of a Gallup, N.M. man, according to documents from the prosecution. And in 2008, he applied for a passport using the identity of another Gallup resident who was African-American. Thompson is white. The application was denied, but the reasons for the denial were not disclosed.

Though the jury has not yet heard from the defendant, they heard his voice indirectly on Tuesday. Earlier this year, while still planning to represent himself, Thompson cross-examined Ronnie D. Brittain, the New Mexico resident whose identity was used on the Tampa bank accounts.

The deposition was videotaped in Gallup because the witness' medical condition prohibited his travel to Ohio. Thompson, dressed in orange jail scrubs and speaking softly, questioned Brittain via computer from Cleveland.

When Thompson asked the witness if he had actually lost any money because of having his identity stolen, Brittain snapped back.

"I don't know of any actual theft, but I don't find it very funny," said Brittain, whose name, birth date and Social Security number were fraudulently used by Thompson on numerous documents. "Someone did something they shouldn't be doing. That's the truth."