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Norfolk, VA

Former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe heads to trial on federal bribery charges next week

Virginian-Pilot
Virginian-Pilot
 2021-07-30
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Former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe leaves federal court after being arraigned on federal corruption charges on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot

Nearly two years after being indicted by a federal grand jury, former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe is set to go to trial Tuesday on multiple corruption charges.

The trial in U.S. District Court in Norfolk is expected to last about two weeks. Dozens of witnesses, including some of McCabe’s former deputies, are expected to testify.

McCabe, 63, served as Norfolk’s sheriff for 22 years. He retired in February 2017 while a federal investigation of his dealings with jail contractors was ongoing. Several months before that, he lost his bid to become the city’s mayor.

McCabe is charged with multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Each of the 11 charges he faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He’s been free on bond as he’s been awaiting trial.

In a 31-page document filed earlier this month, prosecutors laid out their trial plan and mentioned some of the witnesses and documents they plan to present.

The prosecution team alleges McCabe used his position to solicit bribes and campaign donations from individuals and companies that had multimillion dollar contracts with the jail, especially Correct Care Solutions and owner Gerald F. Boyle.

The now-defunct company provided medical services to Norfolk jail inmates during most of McCabe’s tenure. Boyle also is charged in the case and is scheduled for trial later this year.

Boyle and the owner of a company that provided food services for the jail reportedly gave McCabe thousands in campaign donations, loans, gift cards, entertainment and trips in exchange for inside information about bids from other contractors so they could offer the lowest bid.

Among the gifts McCabe is said to have received are a trip to Nashville to attend a Brooks and Dunn concert, tickets to a Richard Petty Driving Experience in which attendees are able to drive a NASCAR race car, 50-yard-line tickets to a then-Washington Redskins football game and multiple all-expenses-paid trips to casinos across the country.

Correct Care Solutions also catered McCabe’s campaign events and private gatherings at his home at no cost, according to prosecutors.

Among the witnesses jurors are expected to hear from is a woman described in a court document as a “friend” of McCabe’s who reportedly benefited from the bribes he received. The woman is identified only by the initials SH.

Prosecutors filed a motion earlier this month asking that she be questioned in advance at her home because she’s in a high-risk pregnancy and is due to deliver just days after the trial starts.

The woman is expected to testify that McCabe paid for dinners, luxury gifts and gave her cash during their friendship. She also told investigators he arranged for one of his deputies to drive her and her mother to Atlantic City and gave her spending money, according to the motion.

McCabe joined her there later and bought “certain items” for her, using some of the bribe money he received, the document said. He then hid the expenditures through false statements on his campaign filings.

Prosecutors also have asked to present statements from Norman Hughey, an undersheriff who worked for McCabe and died from cancer in 2019. The statements reportedly were made by Hughey to a federal investigator and at least one other before he died and refer to efforts McCabe made to get inside information to staff at Correct Care Solutions.

In their trial brief, prosecutors said they plan to back up witness testimony with business and bank records, expense reports, emails, texts, and other documents.

They also plan to show that McCabe was routinely overextended financially and transferred money from his campaign accounts to his personal bank accounts. Prosecutors claim he needed the bribe money to support his lifestyle and gambling habit.

They also allege he used inmates to set up for campaign events and directed deputies to do personal errands for him, like picking up his child from school, walking his dog and chauffeuring him to local and out-of-state events in a limousine.

Jane Harper, 757-222-5097, jane.harper@pilotonline.com

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