Burfoot self-surrenders at federal court to begin prison sentence

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Suspended Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot self-surrendered at the Norfolk courthouse Wednesday without his usual suit and bow tie. He instead wore black sweatpants and sweatshirt, which would soon be turned in for a prison jump suit.

“I will spend my very last breath clearing my name,” Burfoot told reporters gathered outside the courthouse. “Because I know that I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong,” he said.

10 On Your Side’s Deanna LeBlanc asked Burfoot if he had any apologies to the taxpayers or citizens of Norfolk. He replied, “Absolutely not.”

When asked how he was feeling about reporting to prison, Burfoot said, “As well as I could possibly feel under the circumstances… I don’t think anyone’s ever ready for anything like this, but I’m going to do the best I can.”

Burfoot was taken to the Virginia Beach City Jail Wednesday. On Thursday, he was at the Northern Neck Regional Jail. He will be transferred to a federal prison at some point, though it’s not yet clear which facility.

Burfoot was sentenced on Monday to six years in a public corruption case. Monday’s sentencing came more than four months after a jury convicted him on six of eight counts, including wire fraud and perjury charges.

Prosecutors said from 2005 through February 2011, Burfoot was part of a scheme and solicited money, car payments and home appliances from people with matters before city council and, in exchange, promised to perform specific official acts on their behalf.

The group that spearheaded an effort to remove Burfoot from office called the sentence a slap on the wrist.

“We were looking for him to confess and have some degree of repentance for his behavior. But he showed no remorse,” said John Wesley Hill with the Citizens Recall Committee.

Burfoot was suspended from office in January, and the city’s chief deputy treasurer, Amelia Ortega, was appointed as acting treasurer.

An emotional Burfoot addressed members of the media ahead of Monday’s sentencing, and maintained his innocence in this case.

“I believed in my innocence and I believed in my truth,” Burfoot said. “And in this country, I think every person should be entitled to a fair and impartial trial. And they should fight for what they believe in. And I fought for what I believe in: My truth. They brought every city official in this courtroom. Every one. And I still maintain my truth.”

Burfoot was given 48 hours following the sentencing to set his mother’s affairs in order before reporting for his sentence. His father passed away after the trial.

Prosecutors objected to this request on Monday, arguing that Burfoot needed to be incarcerated that day.

In their closing arguments, they called Burfoot an enemy of the City of Norfolk who caused lasting injury to the city’s reputation.

Defense attorney Andrew Sacks said the sentencing was not ideal, but was a “big relief” compared to the 15.5 years prosecutors asked for on Monday. Sacks is planning to appeal the sentence.

Stay with WAVY News 10 for more coverage of this case.

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