Jurors hear testimony on Eversole's voting record

March 17, 2011 3:36:04 PM PDT
Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole says he remains confident during his corruption trial, even as prosecutors continue presenting evidence they say shows he traded political favors in exchange for gifts.

Eversole's been on commissioner's court for more than 20 years. He has cast thousands of votes. But Thursday the jury is focused on a handful of them. The one he cast that ended up helping his longtime friend developer Mike Surface.

"I plan to be completely exonerated in this," Eversole told Eyewitness News.

In the past, Eversole has told us he didn't do anything wrong. But prosecutors pointed the jury to 47 votes in the last 10 years that benefited Surface one way or another. Starting in 1999, Eversole voted 13 times to either grant or extend or modify a lease on a building Surface owned that housed CPS offices. They showed a similar pattern on three other buildings.

The government contends the votes to help Surface were payback for more than $100,000 worth of gifts, trips and cash from Surface to Eversole. However, Eversole's lawyer says the connection can't be made.

"It's hard to convict a man who's not guilty," said defense attorney Rusty Hardin.

This comes on the heels of testimony yesterday about specific gifts that Surface allegedly gave to the commissioner.

Eversole is charged with conspiracy and bribery. If convicted, Eversole could get up to 21 years prison and be forced to pay $700,000.

Reporter Ted Oberg has been following the Eversole trial since it started and he will have live reports on Eyewitness News.