Tuesday, June 24, 2008

McGee defense rests

The lawyer for Michael McGee Jr. called just three witnesses in his federal corruption case trial Monday before resting, a decision the former alderman initially took issue with when questioned by the judge overseeing the trial.

Asked whether he agreed with the decision not to call more witnesses, McGee replied, "No, your honor, not really."

Following those remarks, a conference was called to discuss how to proceed with the case. U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert again asked McGee if he agreed with the decision not to call any more witnesses, and he said he did.

Both sides will work on jury instructions before Tuesday morning, when the jury will be called back for closing arguments.

McGee attorney Calvin Malone spent last week trying to chip away at the government's case while the prosecution presented its witnesses, focusing on the credibility and memory of informant Jack Adel. Malone called only former acting Mayor Marvin Pratt, FBI agent George Strong and Bill Arnold, who works in the Milwaukee Common Council's media office, to the stand.

Pratt, who served on the Common Council before becoming acting mayor, testified that he was allowed to receive payment for assisting business owners with license issues as a lobbyist but would not have been allowed to accept such compensation while on the council.

Strong testified about a phone call from Adel about whether he should help a gas station attendant translate for a media interview regarding McGee's arrest. Malone questioned Adel about a recording of the phone call last week, and Adel could not remember which George was on the tape.

Arnold testified about a press release from McGee's office about a reward that was offered for tips in a rape case. Adel's money was used to put up the reward, though he was not mentioned in the press release. Malone questioned Adel about the reward last week.

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