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Courts and Crime

Jury reaches quick verdict in Bobby Thompson charity scam trial
Verdict will be announced Thursday morning following 5 weeks of testimony and evidence

Kevin Niedermier
Defendant Bobby Thompson listens to the prosecution's closing arguments today in a Cuyahoga County courtroom.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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A Cleveland jury is deliberating the case of Bobby Thompson who alleged scammed donors through a fake Navy veteran’s charity he created. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, Thompson is charged with bilking at least $100 million from people in 41 states including Ohio.

LISTEN: Thompson’s attorney, Joseph Patituce

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The five week trial included thousands of documents prosecutors say support charges of record tampering, theft and money laundering.Testimony included witnesses whose identities Thompson, whose real name is John Cody, allegedly stole. After the jury left the courtroom, Judge Steven Gall criticized Thompson for his un-characteristically sloppy appearance in court this week. Gall called the unusual behavior a ploy to gain sympathy from the jury. Thompson’s attorney, Joseph Patituce disagrees, saying the behavior started with Thompson intentionally banging his head on a cell wall last week.

“If you look at the injury, it’s not superficial at all, it bled substantially. If you go into the holding area there’s blood literally covering the walls. And he’s been in the psych ward for the last 7 days, not in his regular cell. I think it’s the stress of the case. He 66 years old and facing 80 years in prison, I think the stress got to him.”

 Patituce says the stress was why Thompson did not testify as expected.  Patituce rested his defense without calling any witnesses, and did not present a closing argument. He says after the prosecution’s more than two hour closing argument, which rehashed the evidence, there was nothing to add.                                                                                                        

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