Ex-Expressway Authority board member found guilty on bribery charges



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County jury delivered a guilty verdict in the trial of former Expressway Authority board member Scott Batterson Wednesday afternoon.

Batterson was accused of offering a multimillion-dollar deal to a toll agency contractor in exchange for hiring some of his friends.

During the trial prosecutor Deborah Barra said, "He has the power over Mark Callahan when the man says, 'I'll give you the contract if you put these people on your team. You get this if I get that.' That is not only inappropriate, but that is illegal."

During closing arguments the state told the jury that Batterson committed a crime even though it was in a bar.  

Prosecutors said Batterson was bragging he would be board president and that he had the three majority votes to do what he wanted to do.

Batterson did not react visibly as the jury found him guilty of two counts lodged against him.

Following the verdict prosecutor Rick Wallsh said verdict sends a message.

"It's never easy or good when a public official has been convicted of a crime. Some cases just need to be tried and the message needs to go out to both the public and public officials that it really is a sacred trust," said Wallsh.

Following the verdict Batterson was fingerprinted, handcuffed and led away to jail.

Defense attorney Amy Tingley said the verdict was disappointing.

"We're very disappointed. I mean, the state's main witness lied and admitted that he was a liar, and we're, of course, disappointed," said Tingley.

Batterson is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17.

Channel 9's Kathi Belich has been covering the trial and will have details on the verdict on Eyewitness News at 6.