A man who worked on former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long’s campaign has said he is responsible for introducing Mr. Long to the undercover FBI informant who ultimately would help bring him down, but he stipulated that discussion of illegal activity never initially took place.
Defense attorney Jerry Summers said he filed the affidavit Monday of Joe Guidi, a former process server, in order to “show that Mr. Long’s first contact with Clarence Eugene Overstreet was for legitimate purposes of helping the campaign.”
“It wasn’t until the government got involved that Mr. Long got into trouble,” Mr. Summers said. “He did not start out wanting to coerce or bribe or extort anything.”
Joe Guidi said he introduced Mr. Long to Mr. Overstreet as someone who was a prominent member of the local black community who could help put together a fundraising dinner involving Indian convenience store owners here who wanted to contribute to his campaign.
By February this year, federal agents had arrested Mr. Long for shaking down those same businessmen, as well as for money laundering, drug trafficking and providing a gun to Mr. Overstreet, who is a convicted felon and was paid more than $18,000 to help the FBI forge their case against Mr. Long.
Mr. Summers has said that Mr. Overstreet’s “manipulative” personality is one reason Mr. Long should receive a lighter prison term when he is sentenced Nov. 19.
A federal judge already has ruled that Mr. Overstreet’s personality traits have nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Long committed so many crimes.
Mr. Long pleaded guilty in May to 27 crimes ranging from extortion and money laundering to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
The lone drug charge — set up by the government and Mr. Long’s last crime before his arrest in February — is the most serious and carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.