Former Norfolk Official Gets 6 Years in Corruption Case

NORFOLK, Va. (CN) – Former Norfolk City Treasurer and Councilman Anthony Burfoot was sentenced to six years in federal prison and ordered to pay $250,000 on Tuesday following his conviction on corruption and perjury charges.

A tearful Burfoot gave a brief statement to reporters before entering the Norfolk Federal Courthouse Monday morning.

Asked what sentence he expected U.S. District Judge Henry Morgan Jr. to hand down, Burfoot replied, “I stood on my faith. I stood on my truth. He has to do his job.”

Once inside the courtroom, Burfoot pleaded for a few extra days of freedom to get his ill mother’s affairs in order.

“I am begging you,” he said to Morgan, as he continued to sob. “I am asking you.”

In the end, Judge Morgan gave the disgraced public official until 2 p.m. Wednesday to turn himself over to federal marshals.

In addition to jail time and the forfeiture of the proceeds from his crimes, Burfoot was sentenced to 360 hours of community service once he is released.

He was convicted on Dec. 9, 2016, of four counts of public corruption and two counts of perjury stemming from his soliciting bribes from developers in exchange for political favors during a six-year period beginning in 2005.

Burfoot was acquitted of two other perjury charges.

Prior to Burfoot’s sentencing, Judge Morgan heard from both prosecutors and defense attorney Andrew Sacks.

Sacks made a bid for leniency, arguing that his client deserved no more than 24 months in prison. Prosecutors, meanwhile, asked for a far stiffer 15-and-a-half year sentence, and $400,000 in restitution.

Burfoot was the “architect and leader of a scheme that was the worst in Norfolk’s history,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye said.

Asonye went on to describe Burfoot as “an enemy of this city.”

“He deserves 15 years because he created tangible damage to city projects,” the prosecutor said. “Not once, not even today, did he mitigate the charges. Instead, he doubled down on his lies.”

When it was his turn to speak, Sacks called a bevy of character witnesses to urge Burfoot be spared the harshest of sentences. These included Burfoot’s minister Dr. Shelton Murphy, and his sister, Leslie Jefferson.

Jefferson broke down while addressing the court, saying her brother is not the person everyone out there is portraying him as.”

“The only thing he is guilty of is trusting Dwight Etheridge as friends,” she said, referring to the prosecution’s star witness.

Sacks closed by telling the judge he wasn’t asking for favorable treatment for his client, only that the court be fair.

“I know you will be,” Sacks said.

Sacks then attempted to discredit the Dwight Etheridge’s testimony, but Judge Morgan put an abrupt end to the defense attorney’s accusations.

“He (Burfoot) was greedy and arrogant, that’s the difference between Etheridge and Burfoot,” the judge said.  “The problem is that he won’t come to grips with what he’s done.  Etheridge didn’t lie, your client did.”

“I just want you to give credit or the good things he’s done,” Sacks said, referring to Burfoot.

“I intend to,” Judge Morgan said.

Afterward, Burfoot’s sentence was handed down , wails of grief could be heard from his family and friends as they left the courtroom.

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