LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – The two remaining defendants in the Lynn Haven corruption case have declared their innocence and charged investigators and prosecutors with breaking the law on Friday.
James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction, and Margo Anderson, the former mayor of Lynn Haven, are accused of bribery and corruption on urban projects that occurred before and after Hurricane Michael. Six other people, including former city manager Mike White and former city attorney Adam Albritton, have pleaded guilty in the case. And a seventh defendant, former city commissioner Antonious Barnes, has pleaded guilty to a separate felony related to the investigation.
After Judge Mark Walker dismissed a grand conspiracy charge against Finch and Anderson, prosecutors returned to a grand jury and obtained a new indictment. In response, Finch’s attorney Guy Lewis and Anderson’s attorneys W. Robert Vezina and Anthony Bajoczky, Jr. filed motions arguing that the case should now be completely dismissed.
They claim that prosecutors allowed an FBI agent to lie during his testimony, that much of the facts presented by prosecutors are wrong, and that prosecutors have repeatedly failed to provide defendants with important evidence that exonerates them. clients.
Prosecutors answered these questions in a petition filed under seal and cannot be viewed by the public. Defense lawyers filed two separate responses on Friday.
In his response, Lewis reiterated his accusations against the prosecution and wrote that an investigator into the case was “involved in deeply disturbing corruption”.
This alleged corruption included “the ‘setting up’ of another public official, as well as receiving a free motorbike, van and work at his home from a government witness,” Lewis wrote. âWe have now discovered direct evidence that this same co-investigator disclosed information about this very case, including when a search warrant would be executed. According to the evidence, this corruption allowed the destruction and fabrication of evidence upon which the government’s case against Finch and Anderson is based.
Lewis added: âMr. Finch is innocent, having been the victim of a botched investigation and false allegations by the government.
Vezina and Bajoczky also contested the “botched” investigation.
“The government paraphrased a text message in a way that affirmatively changed its meaning and involved Anderson,” they wrote. “The government also presented the grand jury with an indictment comprising an inaccurate allegation that Anderson executed an unapproved promissory note in favor of James Finch.”
“The fact that the note was approved by the city commission, let alone the fact that it was approved unanimously and that Anderson was obligated to carry out the note as mayor commissioner, was omitted.” , they wrote. âThese are well-known, indisputable examples which are not intended to be exhaustive. This creates serious doubt that the government improperly swayed the grand jury in a way that deprived Anderson of his right to an independent grand jury. â¦ The government should not be able to save his case.
It is not known when Walker will vote on these motions. The next hearing in this case is currently set for the end of February.