NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Former Virginia lawmaker Phil Hamilton pleaded not guilty in Richmond Federal Court Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The former delegate from Newport News is facing bribery and extortion charges.
Hamilton's trial was set for May 2, 2011.
Hamilton is accused of using his influence in the General Assembly to get government money for Old Dominion niversity and a job for himself, as director for the ODU Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership.
The indictment says ODU officials assured Hamilton that if he obtained funding from the General Assembly, he would get the job. One day after the General Assembly session in February 2007, the indictment claims Hamilton sent an e-mail to an ODU official saying, "Currently, my part-time salary with NNPS is around $37,000." "I need at least that amount from the ODU Foundation..." "Of course more is always appreciated."
In June 2007, Hamilton and an ODU official signed an employee contract indicating, among other things, that Hamilton would direct the center and seek continual funding for the center. The contract also stated that Hamilton would be paid $40,000 per year. From approximately July 2007 through July 2009, Hamilton collected approximately $80,000 from ODU.
Despite the questionable e-mails, Hamilton's defense attorney says his client is innocent.
Hamilton was released on $25,000 unsecured bond and is not allowed to travel outside of Virginia without approval from a probation officer.
If convicted, Hamilton faces up to 10 years in prison on the bribery charge and up to 20 years on the extortion charge.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
A first time program in Hampton Roads is distributing holiday meals to military families.
Two weeks before Christmas and 250 local workers are out of a job.