Commissioner Jerry Eversole sat and listened to the government’s prosecutor lay out their case against him for thirty minutes.
The lead attorney started off by calling it a case of power and money. Eversole had the power and his longtime friend Michael Surface had the money. The government says Eversole accepted more than 100-thousand dollars worth of benefits from Surface that included a 63-thousand dollar loan towards house, trips and expensive gifts. Often times they say Surface went to great lengths to hide where the money was coming from.
The prosecutor cited one case where the check went to four different companies owned by Surface before winding up in Eversole’s account.
Eversole is also accused of filing false tax returns to hide the money he received. In exchange for the benefits, they say Surface’s real estate company was awarded five county contracts, one of them worth 4.8 million dollars.
Eversole’s defense attorney Rusty Hardin painted a picture of two close friends, who took trips and did things together long before any of the contracts came up. He says the evidence will prove that when Surface’s company did receive the contracts, Eversole had little to no role in the process, even though he eventually voted in Surface’s favor in each case. Hardin closed by saying it is not illegal to vote on the project of a friend.
The trial continues Wednesday at the downtown federal courthouse.