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Jury finds Portsmouth councilman guilty of forgery

PORTSMOUTH (AP) A jury has found a Portsmouth city councilman guilty of three counts of felony forgery for falsifying a contractor’s signature on financial documents.

But the jurors recommended July 18 that Councilman Mark Whitaker serve no jail time and pay $7,500 in fines. Media outlets reported that Judge Harold W. Burgess Jr. would decide the sentence at a September hearing.

Whitaker’s defense attorney, Jon Babineau, said in court that he intends to file a motion to set aside the verdicts. The judge said he would take the guilty verdicts “under advisement” until he hears the defense motion.

Whitaker, who is also an assistant pastor, did not testify at trial. He has stated publicly that he is innocent.

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