Lawyer argues Finch charge exceeds statute of limitations

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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — The lawyer for the construction magnate facing federal charges in the Lynn Haven corruption scandal is arguing that one of the 43 charges against him should be thrown out.

But in his motion, Attorney Guy A. Lewis also said that the rest of the case is “fatally flawed” and that future motions will seek to throw out most, if not all of the case against Phoenix Construction owner James Finch.

Court filing: Feds have secret recorded conversations with Finch, Anderson

Prosecutors have charged nine people in an ongoing corruption case involving government projects in the city. Five people have already pleaded guilty in the case while Finch, former Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson, former City Attorney Adam Albritton, and former City Commissioner Antonius Barnes are awaiting trial. 

Finch is accused of taking part in a conspiracy where he bribed public officials in order to receive millions of dollars worth of construction work for his company. In a recent motion, Lewis writes that parts of the case are based on checks written from Finch to Barnes’ insurance company.

For one of the counts, the check was deposited on January 26, 2016. This makes the alleged crime outside of the statute of limitations and the count should be dismissed Lewis wrote.

In his footnotes of his motion, Lewis took aim at the rest of the case.

Retracing the Lynn Haven corruption investigation

“Count One of the Superseding Indictment purports to charge a single conspiracy count. In actuality, the count illegally charges multiple, disparate conspiracies,” he wrote. “The fatal impropriety of Count One will be addressed by separate motion.”

And in a second footnote Lewis promised more action.

“Like the conspiracy count, the substantive counts attempt to charge a violation of the wire fraud statute based on an honest services theory,” he wrote. “Again, the substantive counts are fatally flawed for a number of reasons, the least of which is failing to detail any quid quo pro as required by law. Defendant Finch will address these legal violations by way of separate motion as well.”

Federal prosecutors were ordered by Judge Mark Walker to respond to the motion by April 22.

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