The owner of a trucking company who was convicted of paying bribes to rake in more than $20 million from military contracts fought for relief last Wednesday at the 11th Circuit.
Arguing before a three-judge panel in Atlanta, attorney Edward Garland said that the evidence showed only that his client, Christopher Whitman, gave gratuities to officials. “The defense was presented for five weeks … evidence was used on the record for, what we’ll call, ‘buttering up,’” said Garland, a partner with Garland, Samuel and Loeb.
Justice Department attorney Alex Robbins told the panel meanwhile that the proper time to raise such arguments was at trial. “Timing is everything,” Robbins said. “You need to submit your argument to the jury. … None of that happened here.”
Robbins added: “There is nothing in the record at all that suggested these payments were gratuities.”
Garland’s argument also drew skepticism from at least one judge on the panel. “But you never argued this, did you?” said U.S. District Judge John Antoon II, sitting by designation from the Middle District of Florida.
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