Conner's is the first trial in this case, which initially had 17 indictments, including Rep. John Bowman, D-St. Louis. Only three defendants are left, including Bowman, whose trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in January.
Today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers some background on the case, which has been followed extensively by this blog:
Although Connor is the alleged mastermind and the first to go to trial, Bowman's prominence has drawn public attention to the case.
And his trial could be embarrassing for the former head of the legislative Black Caucus and budget committee member, as it may feature revelations about prior arrests on bad check and stealing accusations, a bankruptcy and a trip to Florida with a female mayor.
He bought airline tickets for himself and Berkeley Mayor Kyra Watson for a Feb. 17 trip to Tampa, Fla., during which he spent $778 shopping and $395.22 on the Wyndham Harbour Island hotel, according to his credit card statement.
Investigators asked about that trip.
"Who is Kyra Watson?" Kerns asked.
"Mmm. She is a friend," Bowman replied, according to a video of the interview. He said he ran her mayoral campaign, and the trip was for fundraising.
But Watson's campaign finance reports show neither expenditures nor contributions for that period.
Asked about it this month by a reporter, Watson said, "No, it wasn't a campaign trip for me." She also said, "I don't think that that was the entire statement that Mr. Bowman made. That was just what was recorded." She declined to comment further.
During the initial portion of the interview with agents, Bowman said he had never been arrested. But the agents' memorandum says Bowman was arrested in Cole County for passing a bad check and in St. Louis County for misdemeanor stealing. State court records do not show any criminal court cases in either county, or statewide, involving Bowman.
In 2004, Bowman petitioned for bankruptcy, facing debts that included more than $30,000 in unpaid federal and state taxes from as far back as 1999. A judge tossed out his petition, however, when he failed to make scheduled payments to a trustee.
In the 2006 interview, agents accused Bowman of failing to pay anything toward the approximately $27,000 balance of the credit card. Bowman said the balance was only about $2,200, and that he had made arrangements to pay. Agents said bank representatives denied that Bowman had contacted them.
Bowman also was questioned about financial information on his application.
Although he initially told the agents he had filled out the application, he later said that he didn't fill in certain portions.