Federal Appeals Court Rejects Philpot Conviction Appeal
October 24, 2013 — (AP) — A federal appeals court upheld the public corruption conviction of Lake County’s former county clerk.
According to the Associated Press, Tuesday’s ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals states there was strong evidence that Thomas Philpot knowingly violated state law when he pocketed taxpayer money. Philpot was sentenced last January to 18 months in prison for stealing more than $24,000 from federal child support incentive funds he controlled and pocketing the money as a salary bonus.
Philpot’s lawyers argued that he couldn’t get a fair trial because of pre-trial publicity. The appeals court panel rejected that argument, finding that the stories that were broadcast and published were factual and appeared more than one year before the trial began.
Appellate judges also disagreed with defense contentions there was insufficient evidence that Philpot knew he was acting illegally because David Saks, a Hammond lawyer and longtime Philpot friend, had said Philpot was within the law.
Philpot is serving his sentence in Michigan and is due to be released next July.