TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — People crowded into a federal courtroom in Tallahassee Tuesday to hear a guilty plea from suspended city commissioner Scott Maddox and longtime business associate Paige Carter-Smith.
It's a case that a lot of people say involves the entire city as a whole. That connection is why people came out, some sympathetic towards Maddox and Carter-Smith, others not so much.
"That's what's embarrassing," said Tallahassee businessman Erwin Jackson. "Scott stood there and tried to explain himself away."
From day one, Jackson has been vocal about the corruption at City Hall.
"He needs to get 25 years," Jackson asserted. "If he gets 3 or 4 years, then shoot, crime really does pay in Tallahassee."
Maddox and Carter-Smith each plead guilty to two extortion charges and a tax fraud charge. While there were people in the courtroom who agree with Jackson, others were more sympathetic.
"The real culprits of the crime are usually people who don't get the bulk of the punishment," said K. Lenorris Barber.
Barber believes that Maddox and Carter-Smith were targeted.
"If you're the target, the government's going to get you," Barber explained.
Still others in the crowd have a history with the defendants.
"With the dirty stuff he did at city hall, I heard the judge say something about 20 years," said Harry Brown. "That's not enough for the dirty stuff that he did." Harry Brown spent almost 20 years working at City Hall, and he says he's not surprised to see Maddox in legal trouble.
Now their fate lies in the judge's hands.
While the two extortion counts hold 20 years and the tax fraud charge holds another five, the judge could take any of the other charges that were thrown out into consideration.
Maddox and Carter-Smith will be sentenced on November 19.