Our reporter Doug Donovan is sending updates from the coutroom throughout the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Developer Glenn Charlow took the stand after lunch today, but was asked to step down after a meeting between the lawyers and Judge Sweeney.
It's unclear if he will be permitted to testify as to what Patrick Turner told the jury already. The judge had ruled that the cards Charlow (the previously unnamed "third developer") says he delivered to Dixon in 2006 could not be entered into evidence directly because it was added to the prosecution's case the day the trial began on Nov. 9.
Before Turner's testimony, Mary Pat Fannon, an aide to Dixon, took the stand to face questions about the Toys 'R Us gift card Dixon gave her at a holiday party in 2007.
Fannon said she bought her daughter "something nice." The prosecution made it clear that Fannon, unlike other staffers who have gotten cards, is not facing economic hardships. Quite the opposite, prosecutor Tamara Gustave pointed out: Fannon and her husband make close to $500,000 together.
Gustave then displayed a note Fannon gave to the mayor: "Thank you for the Toys R Us gift card for my daughter."
The same Toys 'R Us gift card was one of the nearly 120 purchased by the city housing department to be distributed to the poor during the Holly Trolley tour in 2007.
Earlier Lindbergh Carpenter, a former housing official, testified that he had coordinated the Holly Trolley tour. He said Dixon was handing out gift cards to people along the trolley's stops in low-income city neighborhoods. Carpenter also testified that he had been caught stealing gift cards for his personal use and that he pleaded guilty to a theft charge in January and no longer works for the city.
The testimony from Turner and Fannon was the first to directly show that cards meant for the needy were used or given away by Dixon.
A former investigator for the Office of State Prosecutor testified about how prosecutors traced gift cards to prove who bought them and who spent them.
Christopher Thesing said of the 20 Best Buy gift cards bought by Patrick Turner, Dixon used 19 of them—18 were used to buy a video camera on Dec. 18, 2005. He also said that of the 20 Target gift cards bought by Turner, he was able to prove that 2 were used by Dixon. They were used to buy a handbag, called a Loella Hobo, on Jan. 29, 2006.
He also traced the cards given to Dixon by an associate of Ronald Lipscomb, the mayor's former boyfriend. Of the 18 Best Buy gift cards, Dixon used 12. The 14 Giant cards bought by Lipscomb's associate, Randell Finney, were used by Dixon, her current boyfriend and housing official Edward Anthony, and Dixon top adviser Beatrice Tripps.
City Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector was on hand today to support Dixon: "I'm praying they get her out of this mess," she said.