Ex-mayor to be sentenced for bribery; faces up to 10 years in prison

by Associated Press

Published: November 19,2013

Tags: bribe, bribery, bwench, city government, city of Vicksburg, court, crime, FBI, judge, justice, law, legal, mayor, Paul Winfield, sentencing

Former Vicksburg mayor Paul Winfield was arrested by the FBI on Feb. 20, 2013.

Former Vicksburg mayor Paul Winfield was arrested by the FBI on Feb. 20, 2013.

VICKSBURG — Former Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield is scheduled for sentencing today in a federal bribery case.

Winfield pleaded guilty Sept. 16 in U.S. District Court in Natchez. He faces up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors say he sought $10,000 in exchange for a city contract.

Winfield, a Democrat, completed his first term as mayor this year and lost his re-election bid.

In a court filing Friday, Winfield’s lawyer asked the judge to consider “alternate sentencing options such as probation or house-arrest.”

The criminal complaint in the case says a confidential FBI informant called Winfield on July 17, 2012, to discuss “pre-event disaster contracts” with the city.

It says the two met at a Jackson restaurant the next day, and the informant asked Winfield what it would take to get the contract.

“Winfield responded ‘Ten’ and held up 10 fingers, signifying $10,000,” the complaint says.

Prosecutors say Winfield agreed to take half the money up front and the rest after the contract was awarded, according to the complaint. The complaint says the source paid Winfield $5,000 in $100 bills that had been provided by the FBI.

In August 2012, Winfield called the informant and said he owed $4,300 in taxes and was “in a bind,” the complaint said. They later met in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Natchez, where the source gave Winfield another $2,000 and promised to give him the remaining $3,000 when the contract was awarded, according to the complaint.

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