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COVID Exposure Delays Federal Corruption Trial

Large beige building with a flag and a tree in front of it.
Tom Flanigan
Tallahassee's Federal Courthouse where the trial is being conducted.

The federal corruption trial of Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette is on hold. The judge in the case cleared the courtroom this (Friday) morning after one of the jurors said she'd had contact with a COVID-19 patient.
U.S. Judge Robert Hinkle sent everyone home after the unidentified juror, who was not vaccinated, said she had visited her COVID-positive mother in the hospital Thursday night.

All jurors will now undergo testing. Judge Hinkle said the trial would resume once all concerned tested negative for the virus. Burnette, former Downtown Improvement Authority Chief Paige Carter-Smith and former City Commissioner Scott Maddox were allegedly involved in illegal schemes involving real estate development permitting and kickbacks among other charges.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.