Manuel’s attorney alleges FBI hiding tapes

In the public corruption case of the United States of America vs Thomas George Manuel, defense attorney William Sheppard believes the FBI has undisclosed information that it is hiding from the defense.

To support Sheppard’s claim, he has submitted to the court a copy of a transcript of a private telephone call between local attorney George McClure and St. Johns County Sheriff David B. Shoar.

At this point, the relevance of the phone call is not clear, since Manuel has already confessed to the crime, paid his restitution and is awaiting sentencing.

In the call, Shoar and McClure, who know each other socially, speak frankly about the case in which McClure played a role as a confidential informant.

None the less, Sheppard says prosecutors failed to release FBI tapes and transcripts that might be favorable to him during sentencing.

Manuel, who denied for a year that he accepted bribes while in office as a St. Johns County Commissioner, pleaded guilty to one of two counts of bribery on July 10, 2009.

In June 2008, Defendant Tom Manuel was indicted by federal prosecutors. He was suspended by Governor Charlie Crist the next day.

FBI agents arrested Manuel outside of Giovanni’s, a Jacksonville Beach restaurant, at which time they seized $50,000 from Manuel’s possession that had been accepted by him from developer Bruce Robbins of Jacksonville and his attorney George McClure of St. Augustine.

In April 2008, Manuel was filmed accepting a $10,000 bribe from Robbins and McClure. Manuel was ordered to make full restitution of the money, which he repaid in two payments.

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