Trial Set to Begin for Councilman Charged with Fraud - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Trial Set to Begin for Councilman Charged with Fraud

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 9:35 PM Updated:

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - A trial is scheduled next week for a Virginia city council member accused of fraud and forgery.

Portsmouth Councilman Mark Whitaker was indicted last year following an investigation into New Bethel Baptist Church - where he serves as assistant pastor - its development company and its defunct credit union.

Whitaker has pleaded not guilty and said the investigation is politically motivated. Whitaker and former Sheriff Bill Watson, who launched the investigation, are longtime political foes.

Watson, his office spokesman and a special prosecutor from Frederick Count assigned to the case declined to comment.

Whitaker told The Virginian-Pilot the charges revolve around seven $5,000 loans members of his church took out from the credit union to help with a stalled redevelopment project.

Whitaker's trial is scheduled to start Wednesday.

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