NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A Circuit Court judge pushed back the recall trial of city Treasurer Anthony Burfoot Friday. The judge thought it would be best to delay the trial until after the former city councilman is sentenced April 17.
In December a federal jury convicted Burfoot on several corruption and perjury charges. Burfoot plans to fight those guilty verdicts. Burfoot’s attorney, Andrew Sacks argued the recall trial should be pushed back until a judge actually finalizes the convictions in April.
Recall petitioners who want Burfoot out of office were disappointed by the decision. They hoped to have Burfoot removed from office before his trial or at the very least before his sentencing.
Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring is assigned to the case as special prosecutor. He told the judge Friday he wasn’t sure if there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial at this point. Herring said he wanted to meet with the US Attorney’s office which prosecuted Burfoot on the criminal charges to see what evidence might be available to help him with the recall effort.
Herring says the case could be difficult to prove unless there is additional evidence because Burfoot is convicted of misconduct during his time as a city councilman, not as treasurer.
“The people’s assumptions about the basis for removal may not comport with the standard that we have to meet and that might be a bitter pill to swallow,” Herring said.
In another layer in this complex case, the city tried to intervene in this case, asking the judge to immediately suspend Burfoot. Burfoot’s attorney says such a request is premature.
“The people have spoken and they elected this gentleman. We live in a democracy and we don’t just remove people who have been elected for just any reason,” Sacks said.
An assistant city attorney argued Burfoot has lost the trust of the people who elected him into office and should not be in charge of handling more than $70 million of the city’s money on a daily basis.
A trial date still hasn’t been set for the recall, but both parties will return May 8 after Burfoot’s federal sentencing to see where the recall case stands.