Kevin White guilty of corruption

8:06 PM, Nov 9, 2011   |    comments
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Courtroom sketch of Kevin White.

Tampa, Florida - Holding his wife's hand, Kevin White walked into Federal Court this morning prepared to hear the jury's verdict.

The former Hillsborough County Commissioner was accused of taking bribes in exchange for giving a local wrecker company preferential treatment.

And shortly before noon, standing stoically in court, White heard the word "guilty" seven times--guilty of conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and lying to the FBI.

Leaving the court house, White would only say he was going to now "focus on his family".

White's attorney Grady Irvin left the door open for an appeal. "Mr. Richardson and I were very proud to have represented Kevin White and we just have to respect the jury's verdict. We have sentencing to look forward to and we'll be working hard towards that end," Irvin told reporters.

For more than a week, Jurors heard secret audio recordings of conversations involving White, a government informant and an undercover FBI agent. But with a videotape, prosecutors hit the ball out of the park.

The videotape shows White taking $5,000 from the FBI agent, who was posing as a man from Georgia, who wanted to get into the wrecker business in Tampa. The agent, who went by the name Darryl Wilson, wanted White's help to get on a lucrative law enforcement towing list.

On the tape the agent is heard telling White, "I want to take care of you for taking care of me. Now, you said you needed ten and I'm going to give your five." White replies, "Oh man," and then pockets the money.

While leaving the court house jurors declined to talk about their decision. They did find Kevin White not guilty on three counts. Those charges involved two instances when Kevin White's late father Gerald received money and a mail fraud charge.

U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill thanked the jurors for their hard work and he also gave props to the tow-truck driver Peter Rockefeller who wore a wire and whose complaint to the FBI launched the nearly two year investigation.

It's an investigation that today humbled a politician who bragged about getting things done.

U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill said, "To many of us, these are as serious as federal charges can be, because they affect our democratic institutions. We cannot have corrupt public officials."

A Feb. 27 sentencing date has been set for White. The judge will have the final say on sentencing, but a former federal prosecutor tells 10 News that it seems certain that White will see some prison time.

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