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Ex-fugitive convicted in Ohio trial in $100M fraud of Navy veterans charity

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 8:51 p.m.

CLEVELAND — A mysterious defendant in a $100 million, cross-country Navy veterans charity fraud case was convicted on Thursday of racketeering, theft, money laundering and other charges.

Jurors deliberated for about three hours on Wednesday before reaching guilty verdicts on all 23 counts. They heard nothing from the ex-fugitive, who changed his mind and decided against testifying. His attorney said he wanted to tell his story but worried about his mental state if he faced aggressive cross-examination by prosecutors.

The defendant calls himself Bobby Thompson, but authorities say he's Harvard-trained attorney John Donald Cody. He was indicted in 2010, vanished for two years and was arrested last year in Portland, Ore.

He could get up to 67 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 16.

The defendant rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and rocked on his feet as the verdicts were read. Deputies cuffed his wrists after the first guilty verdict was announced. Unlike the last two days of his trial, the defendant showed up with his shirt buttoned and his hair combed.

He was charged with looting the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa.

Records show the defendant had showered politicians, often Republicans, with political donations.

The judge rejected a defense request to subpoena testimony from leading Ohio Republicans.

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