MIAMI – A jury has found former Homestead Mayor Steven Bateman guilty in his corruption trial.
"I thought they came out quick because they got it," said Bateman after the verdict was read. "So I don't know where it went wrong."
Bateman was found guilty Monday on two counts of felony illegal compensation.
He is convicted of using his power to finish up construction work for a health company for which he was consulting.
Despite Bateman continuously telling reporters that he is grateful for the opportunity to tell his side the story, he did not agree to take the stand in his own defense. The defense rested its case Monday morning and closing arguments began immediately afterward.
Prosecutors reiterated their stance to jurors that Bateman took a $125 an hour consulting job with a health care company while using his position as mayor to help speed up projects. This included speeding up permits on a sewage pump and completing construction of a new Children's Crisis Center.
The defense claimed Bateman did not break any laws by being a consultant for the company and said the job was completely separate from his duties as mayor.
"The jury has spoken," said prosecutor Isis Perez after the verdict was read. "And no corruption. It's not acceptable. It doesn't matter who you are."
Bateman faces up to 15 years in prison.
A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7, where the judge will take up a few defense motions requesting to toss out the verdict. If the judge accepts the guilty verdict, Bateman is expected to be sentenced that same day.
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