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Jury finds JT Burnette guilty on 5 of 9 counts

JT Burnette trial
Posted at 5:03 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 20:00:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After 13 trial days, a coronavirus scare and positive test in the jury, juror dismissals, trial pauses and over a day of deliberating, the jury returned a verdict for JT Burnette.

The jury found Burnette guilty of extortion, honest services mail fraud, Travel Act, and lying to the FBI.

The jury found Burnette not guilty of racketeering, conspiracy, honest services mail fraud.

JT Burnette leaving court after hearing the verdict

Sentencing is set for October 28 at 1 p.m.

Burnette faced nine charges, including racketeering, extortion, honest services fraud, and making false statements.

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

TRIAL PAUSED ON 11th DAY

JT BURNETTE TRIAL: DAY 12

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.