Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin gave the final rebuttal this morning and it was powerful. Even U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town was in the courtroom for the final discourse.
Kyle Whitimire of AL.com tweeted:
AUSA George Martin now up to give the second half of the government’s closing. He says he has 47 minutes and he’ll take half of that. (Jurors smile.)
Martin showing again Government’s Exhibit 1: A draft letter Gilbert had written and edited for Oliver Robinson to send to the AEMC, in which Gilbert added the words “as a state legislator.”
Martin: “This was bribery whether that word was used or not.” Argues that no sophisticated person like the defendants is going to use that word when giving a bribe.
Martin goes back to Essig’s closing, when Essig asked the jury, “Where is the bribe?” Martin puts the defendants’ contract with the Oliver Robinson Foundation on the screen and says “There it is.“
Martin argues that the defendants had a lot of public officials on their side, but no one from the area affected by the Superfund. They couldn’t get support from Terri Sewell or William Bell. They needed Oliver Robinson, Martin says.
Martin: “Mr. Essig called him (Robinson) a tax-cheat and a fraudster, but he left out one thing. He’s also a bribe-taker.” Martin now showing how the government corroborated Robinson’s testimony with emails and other documents showing the defendants’ words and actions.
Martin argues that Robinson had every reason to tell the truth on the stand because he was sitting next to the very judge who will sentence him to prison.
Martin now arguing that it doesn’t matter whether Oliver Robinson was getting money or not for them to have proven their case but Gilberts’ own notes show he knew.
Martin: “I don’t know if the EPA was right or wrong, and I don’t care, because this case is about bribery.” Martin argues that it doesn’t matter whether the EPA had overreached or not, only whether the defendants paid Robinson to help them.
Martin is again pointing out to a huge problem in Gilbert’s testimony. Gilbert told Drummond CEO Mike Tracy he had vetted Robinson deal for ethics law compliance, but records show he only checked after the meeting with Tracy. Martin: He lied to Tracy and he’s lying to you.
Martin now arguing that Roberson’s time as a lobbyist shows he knew what the rules were, he just didn’t want to obey them, and [Roberson] didn’t need the advice of counsel to know what he was doing was a bribe.
Martin now going over “reasonable doubt,” says that by the defense’s definition, there would never be a conviction anywhere.
Martin now talking about his dad, who was an American history teacher, who instilled in him a love for God and country. Says July 4 was a special day in his family. “I’ve been to every battlefield and every dead president’s house you can name.”
But this July 4 was different, Martin says. He was in his office because of this trial, when he looked out his window at the American flag flying over the Alabama Power building. That’s when he realized he had missed the big picture.
Martin argues that the defendants deprived citizens of their right to good representation by the elected officials, because Robinson sold his office to them.
Martin asks the jury to show the defendants that their corrupt and illegal scheme will not be tolerated.
Similar posts from Lauren Walsh of ABC 33/40 who tweeted:
Prosecutor George Martin: What speaks loudly in this case is what you heard from this witness stand. What I say, what Asbill said, what Essig said, none of that is evidence. (Reminder: Asbill and Essig gave the defense closings)
Martin; Gilbert cannot run away from government exhibit #1, where he added “as a state legislator” to a letter Oliver Robinson was to submit.
Martin: The bribe is the contract. I wish it had been a bag of cash. It would have been easier to prove.
Martin: If this had been only a contract about community outreach, we would not have been here all these weeks…They asked him to do more.
Martin: They asked him to do more. They asked him to go to meetings and speak on their behalf, advancing Drummond’s interests. They also have Oliver Robinson something they didn’t give all these other officials. They gave him a contract.
Martin: We wanted to show you the defendants own words and actions prove their guilt. We also wanted to corroborate Oliver Robinson’s testimony before he even took the stand….We weren’t going to build our whole case on Robinson’s testimony. We know better than that.
Martin now speaks to notion that defendants didn’t know Oliver Robinson was getting money from his foundation: “He wanted to donate his time to this big powerful law firm. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Martin: This case is not about the EPA, whether it was right or wrong, or about whether Drummond was right or wrong. This case is about bribery.
Martin: Both of these defendants knew what they were doing was out of bounds. David Roberson very well knew the rules of what was in bounds and out of bounds. He’s trying to tell you it was because of advice of counsel he was relying on.
Martin: July 4, I was watching a flag and getting angry in thinking about what the defendants did. They trespassed on those citizens rights in North Birmingham to have their representative represent them and only them.
Martin: They bought an elected official who was supposed to do what’s right for the citizens of Birmingham. Oliver Robinson sold his office to that man and that man. (points to Gilbert and Roberson)
Martin: They were operating a shadow government where they buy a politician to work on their behalf. The defendants did pollute. They polluted our system by bribing Oliver Robinson to sing their song.
The jury has begun deliberating.