PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The defendants in the Lynn Haven corruption case are once again arguing that they are victims of corrupt investigators, negligent and vindictive prosecutors, and a criminal mastermind who set them up because they exposed his corruption.
James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction, and Margo Anderson, the city’s former mayor, are charged together with conspiracy to commit bribery. Finch is also charged separately with two other counts of bribery and giving a false statement to the FBI. Anderson faces a separate bribery charge.
So far, the defense has been successful in getting Judge Mark Walker to throw out a variety of charges forcing prosecutors to seek several indictments over the past two years.
In their most recent motion, the defendants again argue that prosecutors have illegally withheld information and evidence that should have been turned over to the defense to prepare for trial.
They also describe the prosecution as vindictive. Some of their examples include;
- The FBI’s unhinged post-indictment call to Finch (despite his being
represented by counsel) expressing extreme anger due to the government’s
not having the opportunity to publicly arrest Finch in Lynn Haven in front of
- The illegal use of a media group to orchestrate the announcement of these arrests, including posting on social media.
- The government’s repeated allegations that Finch is uncontrollable and should not be trusted to receive, review, or possess important information that could exonerate him
- The government’s unjustified reliance on false witness statements to secure multiple indictments.
The defense is also arguing that Derwin White, the co-owner of GAC Contractors, was the true head of the table in the criminal corruption in Lynn Haven. They say that White, who has since died, orchestrated the criminal case against Finch and Anderson after they refused to go along with his schemes.
“The defense will prove that in March 2019, Finch and Anderson confronted Derwin White about corrupt invoicing by ECS regarding post hurricane clean up and construction projects in Lynn Haven,” Finch’s attorney, Guy Lewis wrote in the motion. “Derwin White warned Finch and Anderson to remain silent about the millions of dollars he and his teams of bandits had stolen from Lynn Haven. And, Derwin White specifically told then-Mayor Anderson and Finch not to deliver the information to law enforcement. In response, Finch told Derwin White that anyone who stole from the City could go to hell.”
Prosecutors have not yet responded to this latest motion. In the past, they have stated that White was also a target of the investigation.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for December. A trial is set for late February.