Kevin White, a former Hillsborough County Commissioner, faces 10 federal charges related to public corruption, including bribery.
U.S. Attorney Robert McNeil is prosecuting this case himself. In opening statements, he outlined for the jury a nearly year-and-a-half investigation into White and his role on the Public Transportation Commission. The PTC regulates, among other things, towing services.
Prosecutors say Kevin White and his father, Gerald White, received thousands of dollars and a Lincoln Navigator from an informant who wanted to be put on a lucrative law enforcement towing list.
The case against White may well hinge on hundreds of hours of secret audio recordings of conversations involving informant Peter Rockefeller, an undercover FBI agent, Kevin White and Gerald White.
But McNeil also warned jurors that at times the recordings could be hard to understand. “This isn’t CSI, where you can take a tape and make it perfect,” McNeil told the panel.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Grady Irvin told jurors they had to hear the whole story, one that hasn’t appeared in the papers or on TV. And it appears Irvin will try and place the corruption blame on a dead man, Kevin White’s father, Gerald, who died before he could be arrested.
While showing a family photo, Irvin told the jury, “Gerald White’s a con man, a shyster, a huckster, a master manipulator and a lousy father.”
The trial is expected to go into next week.