(TruthandLiberty.com) – Over the years, numerous Philadelphia politicians at all levels of government have faced charges of corruption. In January, Philly Magazine highlighted their top 21 favorite corrupt local politicians. Now, they may be able to add one more. On Thursday, March 24, prosecutors and defense attorneys offered opening statements in the trial of Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson and his wife, Dawn Chavous, for federal charges of bribery.
According to the Philly Tribune, the case could hinge on the testimony of Chavous. The prosecutors want to prove $67,000 in payments from a local non-profit charter school paid to Chavous for consulting services to maintain control of valuable real estate in Johnson’s district was really a corruption bribery scheme. Over two days, prosecutors tried to convince the jury Chavous submitted five invoices to Universal Companies from May 2013 to August 2014, totaling $67,000 for work she allegedly didn’t do.
At trial, FBI agent estimates Kenyatta Johnson’s wife was paid $67,000 for 40 hours of workhttps://t.co/v8JtT5UW8k
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) March 30, 2022
FBI Special Agent Richard Haag said he figured Chavous only performed 60 hours’ worth of work for the $67,000 for an event that never happened. Prosecutors say the concealed payments were actually bribes. In opening statements, defense attorneys refuted the claim, suggesting a $67,000 fix wasn’t worth the crime and calling Chavous was a workaholic. On the stand, a Universal executive admitted there was no proof Chavous only worked 40 hours on their behalf to save the Royal Theater, which it initially wanted to transform into a music venue. When the plan didn’t work out, the non-profit sought to sell the property but couldn’t due to zoning issues.
Johnson contends Universal never needed to bribe him for support. He said he aligned with the non-profit’s mission to provide affordable housing and better schools in his district.
Stay tuned. This trial could get interesting quickly if you’re into corruption cases.
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