Friday, January 07, 2011

Judge Hurley: I would have found Joel Williams not guilty

From the Sun-Sentinel:

Charged initially with a money-laundering conspiracy involving Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, Joel Williams was sentenced Thursday to just two years of probation for filing false income tax returns.

U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley took the prosecution by surprise when he briefly criticized the government's case against Williams, an offshoot of the FBI's high-profile and successful undercover sting on public corruption in Broward County.

The judge said he would have found Williams not guilty of the money-laundering charges "on the grounds of entrapment" and that he felt those charges had been the result of "pie in the sky" created by the government.

Big win for Assistant Federal Defender Daryl Wilcox, who hung the jury the first time around. More:

"I don't absolve him," Hurley said. "I don't suggest that what he did was appropriate but I think he allowed himself to be swept along in something that sounded too good to be true."

In an interview after the sentencing, Williams said he had been stupid and greedy.

"[When] people that you trust and look up to say things, you get overwhelmed and believe them. You put blinders on," he said.

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