June 10, 2005 Albany-- A federal jury took less than 90 minutes to conclude that the government had made its case against Albany City Commissioner Henry Mathis.
Mathis was on trial for accepting money from business owners to provide favorable influence on their behalf. Mathis contended that payments that were captured on video tape were campaign contributions for Commissioner Jon Howard.
Leaving federal court, Henry Mathis maintained his innocence. "I'm not guilty, I never was guilty."
But a jury ruled otherwise, and convicted Mathis of three counts of extortion and giving misleading statements to law enforcement.
"I have no bad feelings about what has happened. I've had my day in court. I'm happy because I know what the truth is, and I know what I saw during this trial."
Mathis says he plans to appeal the verdict.
"I believe that the jury disregarded the overall evidence, and they voted their instincts," said Mathis' Attorney Rick Collum. "That's the jury's verdict. Mr. Mathis and I will stand by that verdict until that verdict be over pealed on appeal by the 11th Circuit."
It will likely be three months before Mathis is sentenced. He could face 41 to 51 months in federal prison. "I'm not scared about prison, I'm already in a prison," Mathis said. "When I walk around among people who do things to hurt, I might as well be in a prison. Providing that we're not successful on appeal, I'll do my day."
Mathis is also now officially expelled from the Albany City Commission.
His sentencing date hasn't been set. He is still free today but he could soon be serving up to 51 months in federal prison; unless he can win an appeal he plans to file.