NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe’s public corruption trial is now in the hands of the jury.
The panel started deliberating Monday afternoon.
“As an elected official, Sheriff McCabe had a duty to the public to tell the truth,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa O’Boyle told the jury during closing arguments. “He needed to stay loyal to the public and not look out [for his] own enrichment.”
The trial began three weeks ago. The jury saw more the 900 exhibits and heard from dozens of witnesses. Last week, McCabe took the stand in his own defense.
“He told you he never took bribes,” O’Boyle added. “He put that star on his chest, but that was a smokescreen. Sheriff McCabe had been taking things from vendors for years.”
McCabe is charged with taking bribes from two Norfolk jail vendors and the companies’ CEOs. Prosecutors say in return John Appleton, the founder of ABL, and Jerry Boyle, the founder of Correct Care Solutions, would get the inside track on bids for multi-million-dollar contracts with the jail.
“Sheriff McCabe was one way with the public and another way behind closed doors,” O’Boyle said. “The victims are the people who elected him to six terms. “Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, this is what public corruption looks like and it isn’t pretty.”
McCabe argues that the gifts and campaign donations were just gestures between good friends.
“They were not friends,” O’Boyle added. “In friendship, there is give and take, but here Robert J. McCabe just continued to take and take and take.”
McCabe’s attorney, James Broccoletti, tried to discredit the government’s witnesses, asking them to look at the facts.
“He didn’t have to take the stand,” Broccoletti said. “He didn’t have to embarrass and expose himself for all the world to see.”
Broccoletti told jurors there was no evidence that tied McCabe to the crimes with ABL and CCS. He said both companies kept their contracts because they did exceptional work in the jail.
“This is a man who gave his life to the community and did it well,” Broccoletti added. “He was a fabric of the community. He loved the city. He would not sell that out for anything.”
McCabe is facing 11 federal charges.
Prosecutors showed the jury lavish trips, campaign donations and thousands of dollars McCabe was given by Boyle or Appleton.
“Friends don’t bribe friends,” Broccoletti added.
Broccoletti asked the jury to be McCabe’s “protectors” over the mighty government.
“This was not just a bribe scheme,” O’Boyle said. “This was a lifestyle. It was a course of conduct that this defendant perpetuated for decades. The citizens of Norfolk deserved better. We ask you [the jury] to hold this defendant accountable for his actions.”
Stay with WAVY.com for updates.