Historic City News has learned that United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton today announced the return of an indictment of Thomas G. Manuel, a 63 year old resident of St. Johns County, Florida, charging him with two counts of bribery.
The maximum penalties Manuel faces, if convicted on all counts and sentenced consecutively, are up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $500,000. Manuel turned himself in this afternoon and was released on $50,000 bond after making his initial appearance in federal court in Jacksonville. He was also arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
According to the indictment, on April 10, 2008 and June 5, 2008, Manuel, while serving on the St. Johns County Commission, knowingly and corruptly solicited, demanded, accepted and agreed to accept something of value, namely $10,000 and $50,000 respectively, intending to be influenced in connection with business before the St. Johns County Commission.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Hackenberry Savell.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.