MARCH 13, 2006
After a seven-week trial, former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell’s race-based defense didn’t get him completely off the hook since a federal grand jury found him guilty of tax evasion, though it acquitted of the more serious racketeering and fraud charges.
Corruption was so widespread during Campbell’s two terms as mayor (1994 to 2002) that 10 former city officials and contractors have been indicted and he was charged with taking huge cash bribes and gifts in exchanged for city contracts. The former mayor is also well-known for spending the cash on gambling trips to Mississippi river casinos and on various mistresses.
Campbell has always claimed that he is an innocent man who is being prosecuted only because he is black. In fact, in a magazine article published last month, Campbell said that every black mayor in America over the past 20 years has been investigated in some way. He went on to name some; San Francisco’s Willie Brown, Houston’s Lee Brown, New Orleans’s Marc Morial, Newark’s Sharp James, Philadelphia’s John Street, Atlanta’s Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young.
Campbell could face nine years in prison though he won’t be sentenced for another month or so. Sentencing Law and Policy says that Campbell can still be sentenced for racketeering and bribery if the judge believes he is guilty by a preponderance of evidence. In other words, the acquitted conduct can still be used against him at sentencing time.
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