Sheriff Benjamin L. Goins, the first black to hold elected citywide office in St. Louis, was convicted yesterday of six counts of corruption in office and income tax evasion.
U.S. District Court jury deliberated in slightlyless than four hours before convicting Goins of racketeering, obstructing justice, lying to a grand jury and three counts of evading income taxes.
Goins, 51, faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and fines totalling $55,000. U.S. District Court Judge John F. Nangle, who will sentence Goins on July 14, allowed the sheriff to remain free on bond.
In four hours of testimony yesterday and Thursday, he denied all of the charges against him. Goins' chief defense attorney said the verdict will be appealed. At the heart of the government's case was the allegation that Goins had accepted $36,000 in bribes from a vending machine operator while he was city license collector between 1972 and 1975.
Goins is a major power in St. Louis Democratic politics. He would not say whether he will resign the sheriff's post or quit his race against incumbent William L. Clay for the Democratic nomination for U.S. representative from Missouri's 1st Congressional District.