Closing Arguments Wrap Up In Federal Bribery Trial Of Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Closing arguments have wrapped up in Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's federal bribery case.
Much of the trial has been centered on the Royal Theater Project on South Street. The building has since been renovated into a restaurant and market-rate apartments and townhouses. But less than 10 years ago it sat dormant and blighted.
Universal Companies wanted to redevelop the site into affordable housing.
Federal prosecutors are claiming Rahim Islam, the CEO of Universal, and Shahied Dawan, the nonprofit's chief financial officer, set up an elaborate bribery scheme to get the project off the ground.
To do so, prosecutors claim they enlisted Johnson and his wife Dawn Chavous.
Chavous was hired by Universal as a consultant and was paid nearly $67,000. But prosecutors say the job was a veiled bribe to Johnson to get the project rezoned.
Johnson's lawyer says there was no bribe because he supported Universal in the past. Chavous' lawyer said she was hired because of her expertise, not because of her husband.
Johnson and Chavous are facing two counts of honest services fraud and could face 40 years in prison.
Islam and Dawan are facing additional corruption charges including stealing nearly a half-million dollars from Universal in unauthorized bonuses and expense reimbursements. They each face 300 years in prison.
If Johnson is found guilty he will be the second city councilman to be convicted of federal crimes this year.
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