Judge upholds Virginia councilman’s conviction

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia city councilman found guilty by a jury of three counts of felony forgery for falsifying a contractor’s signature on financial documents has had his conviction upheld.

News outlets report an effort to save Portsmouth Councilman Mark Whitaker from the conviction failed Wednesday, with a judge rejecting a request to set aside a jury’s verdict and imposing $7,500 in fines. The jury had recommended he pay the fine and serve no jail time.

The councilman’s attorneys say a delay in the courthouse paperwork means Whitaker isn’t a convicted felon just yet. Whitaker says he plans to keep serving on the council and seeking another term in office until his lawyers tell him otherwise. State law says a convicted felon can’t run for office. The election is Nov. 6.

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