Day 14: Jury Smirks at Not-Believable Gilbert Testimony; Defense Rests

[Post Updated Below] Could it get any worse for indicted Balch & Bingham partner Joel I. Gilbert?

Kyle Whitmire of AL.com opines this morning about the not-believable testimony from Gilbert:

Like I said yesterday, Gilbert has staked his freedom to the argument that, when they paid the Oliver Robinson Foundation, they had no idea that Robinson was benefiting personally from that. This is a hell of the thing to ask the jury to believe, and yesterday a couple of jurors were smirking when they heard this argument. Emails and other docs don’t help the defense on this point.

Confirming the Great Rift we wrote about this morning, McKinney’s attorney questioned Gilbert and was “trying again to distance McKinney from anything Gilbert and Roberson did while showing that other people at @BalchBingham knew or had reason to know what was going on,” according to Whitmire

But it was indicted Drummond Executive David Roberson’s attorney, Hank Asbill, who exposed more not-believable testimony when he questioned Gilbert, as Whitmire tweets:

Regarding Robinson’s involvement, Asbill asks: Who at Balch was it being hidden from? A: No one. Q: Who at Drummond was it being hidden from? A: No one.

So are we to believe the contract, the involvement with, the payments to Oliver Robinson weren’t hidden at Balch?

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin strongly refuted in re-direct Gilbert’s testimony alleging the work by Oliver Robinson was not hidden, according to Whitmire:

Martin making it clear that, only after the grand jury subpoenaed Balch, did the firm release any documents showing its contract with the Oliver Robinson Foundation and who was paying for that.

Another exchange with Gilbert, tweeted by Whitmire, shows even more not-believable testimony:

Asbill and Gilbert now arguing that they didn’t tell people not to get their soil tested. (Rather, they told people they didn’t have to get their soil tested if the EPA showed up and then told them that it would destroy their property values.)

So in other words the co-conspirators did not allegedly suppress, discourage or disenfranchise poor blacks from getting their toxic property tested, but in reality just advised them they weren’t obligated to have their toxic property tested by the EPA, and  that testing would hurt their property values.

What weasel-wording!

For heaven’s sake, “educating” the community that EPA testing will hurt their property values appears to be discouragement, suppression on its face.

Gilbert’s defense rested before lunch. This is a case in which heartburn hits before the meal.

[Update: After lunch, Steven McKinney was acquitted under a Rule 29 motion. Read more about his acquittal here. Defendant David Roberson’s defense team provided character witnesses and then the defense rested. Roberson smartly did not take the stand.  Closing arguments tomorrow and the jury will deliberate starting Thursday.]