A former defense contractor convicted of fraud now argues that federal prosecutors never had enough evidence against him in trial months ago and wants the jury verdict overturned.
At the least, William H. Whyte, former CEO of the now defunct Armet Armored Vehicles, wants a new trial if he can’t get an outright acquittal.
His defense attorneys will argue the point in U.S. District Court in Danville on Tuesday. An October motion calling for acquittal by Roanoke-based Thomas Bondurant cites the “insufficiency of the evidence presented against him at trial” as the reason for a judge to reverse a unanimous jury’s decision.
Whyte was found guilty of three counts of major fraud against the United States government, four counts of wire fraud and three counts of false or fraudulent claims in the District Court of the Western District of Virginia on Oct. 9 following a two-week trial.
Whyte is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jackson L. Kiser on Feb. 20.
This case was tried in Danville because Armet once was based in the city.
Federal prosecutors on Monday filed a motion opposing any reversal.
Bondurant claimed during the trial the government had not presented all of the relevant evidence or witnesses, including former FBI informant and former Armet company president Frank Skinner.
The motion also states there were several cases of prosecutorial misconduct and that prosecutors shifted the burden of proving the case to the defense — another argument that the court has already ruled against during the October jury trial.
“The remarks did not provide any inadmissible evidence, and the government’s case against the defendant was strong, with multiple witnesses, numerous exhibits, and the defendant’s own admissions as to his conduct,” prosecutors argued in the motion filed Monday. The United States’ motion in opposition states, “Finally, any burden shifting was cured by the court’s jury instructions, which instructed that the burden of proof is with the government.”
This same motion was denied twice — once on Oct. 3, and again on Oct. 9. Federal prosecutors, in the motion filed Monday, argue the defendant cannot meet the heavy burden required to overturn a unanimous jury verdict.
“This case is about greed and reckless disregard for the men who would ride in these trucks,” federal prosecutor Caitlin Cottingham repeated often during closing arguments in October. “The buck stops with William Whyte.”