Ex-Atlanta Mayor to Begin Prison Sentence

Associated Press
Friday, August 4, 2006

ATLANTA, Aug. 3 -- A federal judge on Thursday rejected former mayor Bill Campbell's request to remain free pending appeal of his tax evasion conviction and ordered him to begin serving his 2 1/2 -year prison sentence within three weeks.

U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story said in his order that "the defendant has not shown the existence of a substantial question likely to result in reversal, a new trial, or a reduction in his sentence."

Story's courtroom deputy, Rick Goss, said Campbell has until Aug. 21 to report to federal prison, although the location has not been determined and the date could change.

Campbell was sentenced on June 13 after being convicted in March of three counts of tax evasion. He was fined $6,300 and must pay $62,823 in back taxes.

He was acquitted of federal bribery and racketeering charges. Prosecutors alleged Campbell lined his pockets with payoffs from city contractors as leader of Atlanta during the 1990s.

In Campbell's motion for bond pending appeal, his lawyers argued that his sentence could have been incorrectly calculated and that the disqualification of one of his lawyers before his trial would be grounds for appeal. The judge disagreed.

Mawuli Davis, representing Campbell on his appeal, said the judge's decision is a mistake.

"We're disappointed, but we're not surprised," Davis said. "We're looking forward to being able to have our day in another venue. We are confident the issues we raise on appeal will result in a reversal in the district court."

Davis said that he had spoken with Campbell, and that the former mayor "is with his family and remains upbeat, optimistic and looking forward to facing whatever comes his way."

Story defended his sentence three days after imposing the punishment, saying that Campbell's repeated statements that he was innocent despite the jury's verdict did not serve him well.

"From the day the jury found the defendant guilty of the income tax charges, he has sought to minimize his crimes," Story wrote in a previous filing. He added: "The evidence in the case is contrary to defendant's description of his crime."

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