Former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe, 63, has been found guilty on all charges in his public corruption case.
The jury’s decision on Tuesday came after five hours of deliberation and a three-week trial. They started deliberations on Monday afternoon.
McCabe walked out of the federal courthouse no longer on his own power and no longer a free man. He was taken to the Western Tidewater Regional Jail after his conviction Tuesday.
McCabe was convicted on 11 charges including conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, honest services mail fraud, conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, obtaining property under color of official right, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
McCabe faces up to 20 years in prison on each count. He will be sentenced Jan. 22.
His attorney says McCabe plans to appeal.
“As an elected official, Sheriff McCabe had a duty to the public to tell the truth,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa O’Boyle told the jury during closing arguments. “He needed to stay loyal to the public and not look out [for his] own enrichment.”
McCabe served as sheriff in Norfolk, overseeing the city jail, for more than two decades. The jury believed that during his time in office he was breaking the law.
“It’s a sad day for Bob and it’s a sad day for his family,” said McCabe’s attorney James Broccoletti.
He was accused of taking bribes from two Norfolk jail vendors and the companies’ CEOs. McCabe had argued that the gifts and campaign donations — which happened from 1994 to 2016 — were just gestures between good friends.
“He resisted all efforts to cave,” Broccoletti added. “He stood up for himself and pled not guilty.”
McCabe told the court that he never took a bribe.
Three weeks of testimony ended with the jury deciding less than five hours. Nearly 900 exhibits were introduced during the trial many of them pointing the backhanded deals coming out of the sheriff’s office.
“I was surprised obviously,” Broccoletti said. “A jury can take as much time as they see fit. I thought with the amount of evidence in the trial it would have taken them much longer, but that’s their prerogative.”
According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release, the favorable actions for the vendors included changing the terms of the multi-million-dollar contracts to favor certain companies, granting extensions and renewals, and providing inside bidding information.
McCabe received catering from one of the companies at his home, for his annual golf tournaments, and for other political events. That company’s CEO also gave McCabe free trips, including one to the 2004 BCS National Championship game in Louisiana and a ride in a glass-bottomed helicopter in San Francisco.
The DOJ said McCabe also received $6,000 in cash from a vendor while at a Philadelphia hotel, which he said was a loan. He never had any loan documents nor paid the vendor back. He didn’t include it on his Statement of Economic Interest forms — which are required for him to file as an elected figure — and didn’t disclose it on required campaign disclosures.
McCabe admitted he’s made mistakes in the past, but still maintains his innocence. Broccoletti says he plans to appeal.
“He had 30 years of public service,” Broccoletti added. “30 years of investment in the city and the community. He’s touched so many people’s lives in so many ways. He has made such a difference for so many people.”
“Sheriff McCabe was one way with the public and another way behind closed doors,” O’Boyle said. “The victims are the people who elected him to six terms. “Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, this is what public corruption looks like and it isn’t pretty.”