Jurors weighing the fate of three men accused of setting up a videotaped sex sting of an Atlantic City councilman determined that the camera doesn't lie, convicting each on nearly all charges Wednesday.
Jurors weighing the fate of three men accused of setting up a videotaped sex sting of an Atlantic City councilman determined that the camera doesn’t lie, convicting each on nearly all charges Wednesday.
Floyd Tally and brothers Ronald and David Callaway were found guilty of conspiracy, criminal coercion and invasion of privacy. David Callaway was acquitted on one of two invasion of privacy counts.
The charges involved the clandestine videotaping in November 2006 of Councilman Eugene Robinson, who was lured to a motel and received oral sex from a prostitute hired by the defendants and the mastermind of the scheme, former Council President Craig Callaway.
The tape was leaked to the media in an attempt to get Robinson, who also is a Baptist minister, to resign. He refused and contacted authorities instead.
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“My religion says I can’t rejoice in anybody’s suffering, even though they had been my enemies,” Robinson said when informed of the verdicts by The Associated Press. His health took a precipitous decline after the videotape was made public, and he lives in a nursing home.
“Things should be done in decency,” Robinson said. “I think about people who might want to go into public service who may be dissuaded from it because of what happened to me. But justice is being done, and I applaud that.”
Ronald Callaway’s lawyer, Bonnie Putterman, said her defense was based largely on the premise that the prostitute had misidentified Ronald Callaway, who is one of 13 siblings.
“They (the jury) grouped them all together,” she said. “I don’t think they could escape the fact that they were all Callaways.”
Harry Leszchyn Jr., David Callaway’s attorney, said his client “was the most peripheral” player in the case.
“The jury obviously felt he was more involved than I believed,” he said, adding Callaway would appeal the conviction.
All three defendants were handcuffed and led away by sheriff’s officers immediately after the verdict. A judge revoked bail for Ronald Callaway, 53, and Tally, 39. The judge set bail for 46-year-old David Callaway at $50,000, which he was not immediately able to post.
David Callaway and Tally also are awaiting trial on an unrelated voter fraud case in which they are accused of absentee ballot fraud on behalf of one of the losing candidates in June’s Democratic mayoral primary in Atlantic City.
They are accused of falsifying ballot applications on behalf of Councilman Marty Small, who was the principal opponent of incumbent Mayor Lorenzo Langford. It was Langford to whom Robinson threw his political support after breaking with the Callaways in 2006, setting in motion the events that led to the sex video blackmail case.
Robinson publicly broke with Craig Callaway’s powerful political faction after Callaway admitted taking bribes, and was awaiting sentencing to a federal prison term.
The Callaways and Tally devised a plan to exact revenge on Robinson by hiring Kristyn Haino, a 24-year-old prostitute and drug addict, to lure the 67-year-old councilman to a motel in neighboring Absecon.
Inside the room, they had hidden a video camera in a clock on a night stand near the bed, beaming a signal to a video recorder in an adjacent room. They instructed Haino to make sure Robinson handed money to her, and to get Robinson to look at the clock.
The DVD of her performing oral sex on him was sent to local media outlets in an attempt to get Robinson to resign. The first copy was handed over to a radio talk show host by a man wearing two coats, oversized sunglasses, and a surgical glove.
The defendants face up to 25 years in prison when they are sentenced Dec. 10.
Craig Callaway was sentenced last December to three years for masterminding the scheme but is being allowed to serve it at the same time as his federal prison term for bribery.