Former federal prosecutor calls Maddox, Carter Smith indictment thorough

Photo: Tallahassee DIA
Photo: Tallahassee DIA(WCTV)
Published: Dec. 14, 2018 at 4:17 PM EST
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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News

December 14, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – With the indictment of suspended City Commissioner Scott Maddox and political consultant Paige Carter Smith unsealed, those involved are now analyzing the charges.

"I think it's one of the most overreaching indictments I've ever seen in my life,” said Stephen Dobson, the attorney representing Scott Maddox.

The indictment is 66 pages in length and includes 44 counts. Charges include racketeering, fraud, bribery and extortion. The indictment alleges the two were demanding clients pay thousands of dollars to their company Governance Inc. in exchange for Maddox’s favorable vote at City Hall.

However, those versed in federal law said it reflects a thorough investigation.

"This particular indictment is as good as I've seen,” said David Moye, a former federal prosecutor.

Moye once served as an assistant US attorney. In reading the indictment, he said it seems prosecutors used nearly every law enforcement resource they could.

"Undercover witnesses, cooperating witnesses, perhaps co-conspirators,” said Moye.

He also noted the indictment is lengthier than the average indictment, but is fitting with the scope and timeline of this investigation.

Moye said perhaps the most serious charge is count eight, extortion using fear of economic harm. This refers to a time when Maddox allegedly threatened to cut off all city business with an architectural engineering firm unless it paid him. Under federal sentencing guidelines, extortion using fear of economic harm carries a heavier penalty than extortion.

"That shows the weight they put on using your position to place someone under fear,” said Moye.

Sentences are based off federal guidelines and can be stiffened based on numerous “enhancements,” including how much money was involved, and if the person has a leadership role. Likewise, penalties can be lessened if a person chooses to cooperate.

"They speak of others who may have assisted them or had their own (racketeering conspiracy) activity going on,” said Moye. "I suspect this indictment would lead to others, just based on what I've read here."

Prosecutors have already said the investigation is ongoing.

In the meantime, the defendants said they will clear their names.

"We're going to fight this indictment tooth and nail,” said Dobson.