RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court is considering whether emails between a former Virginia lawmaker and his wife should have been allowed as evidence in his bribery and extortion trial.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments in Phillip Hamilton's case Wednesday. The court usually takes several weeks or months to rule.
Hamilton was vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee when he secured a $500,000 state appropriation for a teacher training center at Old Dominion University while negotiating a job as its director. The former Newport News delegate claims that emails in which he and his wife discussed his efforts were protected by a legal doctrine known as marital privilege. Prosecutors say he waived the privilege by not deleting the emails from his employer's computer system.