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JT Burnette trial paused due to COVID-positive juror on 11th trial day

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Posted at 10:33 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 11:23:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Judge Robert Hinkle announced Wednesday, testimony would not be heard on the 11th trial day for JT Burnette.

Attorneys and the judge met privately before opening the doors at 9:10 a.m. to finalize jury instruction.

Around 11 a.m., Hinkle issued an order further explaining yet another delay.

The order said a juror tested positive for the coronavirus. Hinkle said that juror had no contact with the other jurors, and all have been masked throughout the trial.

The trial will resume on August 9 if the juror has fully recovered, all others have remained healthy, and no further quarantining is warranted.

VIEW THE ORDER BELOW:

New Burnett order by WTXL ABC27 on Scribd

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY ONE

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY TWO

JT BURNETT TRIAL: DAY THREE

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY FOUR

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY FIVE

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY SIX

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY SEVEN

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY EIGHT

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY NINE

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY 10

BACKGROUND
Corruption at city hall, it's the scandal the FBI released on February 5 of 2018.

That's when Scott Maddox, who was serving as a Tallahassee City Commissioner and Paige Carter-Smith, who was serving as the Downtown Improvement Authority Director, was named in search warrant affidavits.

Those documents say through a consulting company named Governance, they were paid to vote in favor of various groups lobbying to move into Tallahassee.

Maddox called the claims untrue a week later.

In December of that year, federal prosecutors found enough to charge him with 44 counts including bribery, extortion, bank fraud, and racketeering.

Just one day later, Former Governor Rick Scott suspended Maddox. Carter Smith stepped down from her role as well.

Not done with the players at hand, prosecutors indicted Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette on May 9, 2019.

In August of that year, Maddox and Carter Smith entered guilty pleas. The plea agreement only dealt with three charges: two for extortion and one for tax fraud. Thirty-nine of the charges were dropped because of that plea deal.

That same day, the US Attorney's Office launched a new statewide division made up of the US Attorney's Office, FBI agents, the IRS, and the Department of Justice to crack down on any form of corruption in government.

After three delays, JT Burnette is now on trial.