JT Burnette to be sentenced in federal court on Tuesday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tallahassee businessman JT Burnette is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, November 9.
In mid-August, a jury found Burnette guilty of five of the nine charges against him after a month-long trial.
Burnette was found guilty of extortion, two counts of honest services mail fraud, one count of violating the Travel Act, and lying to the FBI.
He was found not guilty on four other counts against him, including a racketeering conspiracy charge, two other counts of honest services mail fraud, and one other count of violating the Travel Act.
According to penalties listed online by the US Attorney’s Office, Burnette faces a maximum of seventy years in prison.
Extortion and honest services mail fraud carry maximum penalties of twenty years each. Violating the Travel Act and making false statements to the FBI carry maximum penalties of five years each.
Many factors will be taken into account at sentencing including any prior criminal history.
Prosecutors said Burnette facilitated bribes from an FBI front company, Southern Pines Development, to then-City Commissioner Scott Maddox and longtime political aide Paige Carter-Smith’s lobbying firm, Governance.
Undercover FBI agents connected with Burnette in late 2015 at the Tallahassee Chamber Conference in Amelia Island, before meeting him at his hotel, the DoubleTree. Four $10,000 payments were sent from Southern Pines Development to Governance in November 2016, December 2016, January 2017, and February of 2017, representing the four counts of honest services mail fraud Burnette faced. He was found guilty on only two of the counts.
The violations of the Travel Act stemmed from Burnette’s phone calls with undercover agents when they were in different states; he was found guilty on the charges related to one of the two calls in question.
Both will report to their respective detention facilities on Tuesday as well.
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