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First Day Of Testimony In Trial Of Fmr. Homestead Mayor

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The first day of testimony kicked off Tuesday in the trial of Former Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman who is on trial for alleged corruption.

Prosecutors said the mayor used his position to get outside work, hence two felony counts of unlawful compensation. Meantime, the defense said his part-time mayor's work was legitimate.

An ethics investigator for the county was on the stand all day.

The Miami Dade County Ethics investigator Karl Ross told the prosecutor Bateman was not a registered lobbyist.

A prosecutor asked, " Did you, in fact do a public records search as to whether the defendant had or had not registered as a lobbyist?"

"He did not," Ross replied.

The state said when mayor Bateman met with Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, he signed in as the mayor of Homestead but discussed a deal he had privately been paid for as a consultant for a job with Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) to build a center in Homestead.

Bateman's attorney Ben Keuhne said his client was there to discuss the mayor to mayor business in the interest of Homestead.

"CHI did not pay him to attend that meeting," said Keuhne.

The prosecution said invoices show otherwise and said his $125 dollar an hour job for CHI included a sewer extension for the project he as mayor put on the fast track. Without county help, sewage would not be put in place and CHI would not be able to build its project.

The head of CHI Brodus Hartley took the stand Tuesday. Mayor Gimenez is on the witness list to be called if needed.

They are trying to establish who initiated that first meeting between CHI and Bateman.

It is unclear if Bateman will take the stand.

His trial is expected to wrap up on Monday. Bateman faces up to 30 years if convicted.



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