INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A federal jury on Thursday found a former Indianapolis City-County Council member guilty on charges of bribery and attempted extortion.
The Indianapolis Business Journal reports jurors found Lincoln Plowman guilty after two hours of deliberations. Plowman was accused of taking a $5,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent seeking help opening a strip club.
Plowman faces up to 20 years in prison on the attempted extortion conviction and 10 years on the bribery conviction. A sentencing date hasn't yet been set.
"No man or woman is above the law," U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said in a statement. "To have meaning, those words must be tested, and over the last two weeks, they have been in a courtroom in the building behind me. The jury's verdict has given those words meaning."
The jury heard six days of testimony and evidence before it began deliberating at around 10:30 a.m.
Attorney James Voyles told jurors in closing arguments earlier Thursday that the charges cost Plowman his position as the council's Republican majority leader and his job as a city police major. Voyles says prosecutors ignored evidence that Plowman was doing legitimate work advising strip clubs.
"What I would ask you to do is to give him back his pride, give him back his name. So that man Lincoln Plowman can face his friends, face his neighbors," Voyles said.
Plowman was charged with offering to use his influence over Indianapolis zoning in exchange for money. Plowman was a member of the council's Metropolitan Development Committee, which recommends appointments to the Board of Zoning Appeals. That board reviews petitions for zoning law variances, the IBJ reported.
"Mr. Plowman made a choice," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Vaughn told the jurors in his closing arguments. "Rather than looking out for the interests of his citizens, he decided to look out for his own interests."
A grand jury indicted Plowman in September 2010. The indictment said between August and December of 2009, Plowman solicited an undercover FBI agent to pay him $5,000 in cash and make a $1,000 campaign contribution in exchange for Plowman's help with zoning for a strip club.
Plowman resigned from his position in March 2010 amid the investigation. In addition to serving as a City-County Council member, he was also on the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's force for 23 years.
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