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Federal judge denies JT Burnette’s motion for release pending appeal

Federal judge denies JT Burnette's motion for release pending appeal
Federal judge denies JT Burnette's motion for release pending appeal(WCTV)
Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 4:54 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In a 32 page order, Federal Judge Robert Hinkle denied JT Burnette’s motion to remain out of prison pending his appeal.

Hinkle called the month-long trial “full and fair,” adding, “The evidence on the five counts of conviction was overwhelming.”

Burnette was convicted on five counts, including extortion, two counts of honest services mail fraud, one count of violating the Travel Act, and lying to the FBI.

He was acquitted on four others, including racketeering conspiracy, two counts of honest services mail fraud, and one count of violating the Travel Act.

He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Hinkle said Burnette’s appeal is based on three main issues.

“Two involve the jury instructions which were correct and to which Mr. Burnette understandably did not object at the time,” he wrote.

The third issue involves the testimony of FBI Agent Mike Sweet, and his use of the term “false exculpatory statements.”

Hinkle called it “insignificant, volunteered testimony-- testimony to which Mr. Burnette did not object on the grounds he now asserts.”

In his ruling, Judge Hinkle said the defense tried to “make this a trial about the FBI agents’ handling of the investigation.”

Hinkle did extend the deadline for Burnette to report to prison from January 9th to January 23, 2022.

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