Burnette Conviction Upheld in Tallahassee Corruption Probe

Burnette Conviction Upheld in Tallahassee Corruption Probe

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the conviction of developer J.T. Burnette in a case that also led to former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox pleading guilty to bribery-related charges.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a series of arguments raised by Burnette, who was convicted in 2021 on five charges and sentenced to three years in prison. The case involved undercover FBI agents posing as a developer and an investor and Burnette telling them to pay bribes to Maddox to help move forward with two projects.

In the appeal, Burnette focused, in part, on the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of a bribery law in a 2016 decision that vacated a conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, according to Tuesday’s ruling. The Supreme Court interpretation narrowed the definition of an “official act” in the bribery law, effectively making it harder to gain convictions.

But the appeals court, in a 45-page main opinion written by Judge Kevin Newsom and joined by Judges Robin Rosenbaum and Adalberto Jordan, said “evidence presented at trial was sufficient to permit the jury to conclude that Burnette assisted in bribing Maddox in connection” with a qualifying official act.

4 Responses to "Burnette Conviction Upheld in Tallahassee Corruption Probe"

  1. The true corruption is not found in the one who offers a bribe to a politician… the true corruption is found in the politician who TAKES the bribe.

    We don’t vote/pay for the ones who offer it, we vote/pay for the ones who TAKE it. The enemy is not the weapon… it’s the one who uses the weapon.

    Focus people… focus…

  2. Dont feel bad J.T. when they let Gillum walk away free. Its got nothing to do with you.

    You should have listened to your gut feeling that Gillum and Mattox were dirty and not associated with them. You had that gut feeling about them long before Southern Pines came to town.

  3. Det. Tony Baretta always said,

    “No, no, don’t do it. Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time, Yeah, don’t do it.”

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