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Lawyer: Norfolk Treasurer will not step aside while facing corruption charges

Lawyer: Norfolk Treasurer will not step aside while facing corruption charges
Posted at 11:41 AM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 11:41:27-05

Norfolk, Va. - Norfolk City Treasurer and former Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot has pleaded not guilty to political corruption charges.

His next trial is set for May 3, where the case will be heard by a jury.

After making an initial appearance in Norfolk Federal Court on January 8th, he was released on a personal recognizance bond. His attorney Andrew Sacks said he was been showing up to work as the City Treasure every day.

He's facing conspiracy to defraud the citizens of Norfolk, use of interstate wire communications to further scheme to defraud the citizens of Norfolk, two counts of conspiracy to obtain property undeburfoot120x150b (1)r color of official right, four counts of perjury and one count of forfeiture.

The 48-year-old has been serving the city of Norfolk since 2002 as a councilman - then as Vice Mayor and now as City Treasurer.

His attorney, Andrew Sacks said no plea deal has been offered and they have no intent, at this point, to consider any kind of a plea deal.

Sacks said he is also trying to get his client's bond modified. He said as it reads now, he is not supposed have contact with potential witnesses which could be other government officials.

"We have to modify the bond so that he can have contact with people who might be witnesses and not talk about the case with them," said Sacks. That will have to be approved by a judge.

Meanwhile Wednesday NewsChannel 3 learned from the federal prosecutor that there are 40 to 50 boxes of evidence along with electronic discovery. She called this case complex.

Burfoot faces 8 charges in total. The federal government is accusing him of using his position as a city official to make business deals. Prosecutors allege that he would get cash, car payments and even appliances along with other benefits for helping local businessmen.

The indictment states that he served as a silent partner for the group Tivest.

Some city leaders want him to step aside as treasurer as his legal matters play out.

"I believe Burfoot should step down until after the federal charges have been adjudicated.  Due to the nature of the charges, I believe it is in the best interest of the Office of Treasurer and the citizens of Norfolk," Sheriff Bob McCabe said.

But his lawyer said Burfoot is innocent, calls the charges politically motivated and said Burfoot isn't going anywhere.

"Why should he dignify these allegations by stepping aside as if he did something wrong," said Sacks. A judge required him to surrender his passport and not speak to witnesses in his case without his attorney.

Burfoot served on the Norfolk City Council from 2002 to 2013 and was the Vice Mayor of Norfolk from 2007 to 2013

In 2008, he became Chief Deputy Treasurer of the city. In 2013, he became the Treasurer of City of Norfolk after winning an election.