NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Testimony in the trial of the former Norfolk sheriff accused of making backroom deals began Wednesday at the Walter E. Hoffman United States Courthouse in Norfolk.
Prosecutors started laying out the case against Bob McCabe who was indicted in 2017. McCabe was sheriff for more than two decades.
“This is about a man who took advantage of his elected office by taking bribes,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney Randy Stocker. “His job was to uphold the law, not to break it.”
Prosecutors say the crimes happened between 1994 and 2016 when McCabe helped two companies secure multi-million-dollar contracts with the jail.
In 1994, ABL started providing food services to the jail. The contract was worth $1.3 million. The government told the jury McCabe started by asking the company to provide danishes and coffee for staff members and progressed into the former sheriff getting gifts, lavish trips, and thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
Prosecutors say the same thing happened with the jail’s medical provider Correct Care Solutions. That contract was worth more than $3 million.
Prosecutors told the jury both companies got insight into contract bids and were able to lower their bids to secure the work. They say in the case of ABL, McCabe met with its John Appleton, the company’s president in 1994. Prosecutors say McCabe left his office and told Appleton there was something he should see on the desk. It was a bid from another company.
McCabe’s attorney, James Broccoletti says McCabe was given campaign donations and gifts, but not because of bribes but because he was close friends with Appleton and Jerry Boyle, the CEO of Correct Care Solutions. They would vacation together and exchange Christmas presents.
Boyle was also indicted by the federal government but won’t be testifying in McCabe’s trial. Appleton agreed to testify, but he is doing so with immunity for federal prosecution.
Broccoletti said that those companies give donations to sheriffs all over the country and there were no behind-the-scenes deals.
“Friends don’t bribe friends,” Broccoletti told the jury.
McCabe is facing 11 charges. The trial is expected to take three weeks.