MAYS LANDING -- The state has rested in the case of three men accused of trying to blackmail an Atlantic City councilman with a surreptitiously made videotape of him in a sex act.
Ronald and David Callaway, along with Floyd Tally are accused in an alleged scheme to get a prostitute to seduce Councilman Eugene Robinson, get her to perform oral sex on him, then use a tape of the encounter to try to get him to resign. Instead, Robinson went to police.
The story first broke in November 2006, after a local radio host said she had obtained a video showing an Atlantic City councilman having sex with an allegedly underage prostitute.
Virginia McCabe testified Thursday that she received a call Nov. 26, 2006, telling her there was a tape of "an elected official having sex with a 16-year-old prostitute."
Not believing the claim at first, McCabe said she questioned the caller, trying to see if the claim seemed legitimate. She finally agreed to meet "Tim" at 2:45 p.m. on Boston and Atlantic avenues, a spot she chose for safety reasons.
Once there, she saw the man, and was given a manilla envelope containing a DVD and a letter that said it showed "Councilman Minister" Robinson with "a 16-year-old white female prostitute." The councilman had driven the underage girl to a motel outside Atlantic City in his city-issued vehicle, the note said.
McCabe eventually reported the story, and went to the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office with the video, sparking the investigation.
The state called a dozen witnesses in the case, including former co-defendant Councilman John Schultz, who has since been admitted into the pretrial intervention program and was dropped from the case.
On Wednesday, Schultz testified that he also watched the video with Callaway and defendant David Callaway along with another man.
He said he believed the tape was part of a federal investigation into Robinson's use of prostitutes.
At least one of the defendants seems to want to use that claim as part of his defense as well.
Tally -- who is acting as his own counsel -- is trying to get Craig Callaway transferred from his current stint in prison to the Atlantic County Jail to testify for the defense.
Callaway previously pleaded guilty in the scheme, but that agreement does not require him to testify for the state. He is currently housed in Glenville, W.Va.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor James McClain questioned how Callaway would even help the defense, since he made previous statements to FBI agents and during his plea that would implicate the defendants.
But Tally said that -- as Schultz testified -- he would back the claim that they believed the tape was part of a federal investigation against Robinson.
However, even if Craig Callaway does testify to that, the state would then be able to call the FBI agents to testify to the previous statements Callaway gave them implicating the defendants in the scheme.
Superior Court Judge Albert Garofolo questioned why Tally waited so long to try to get Callaway here. Tally claimed the defendants were "rushed to trial."
Garofolo slammed that statement, pointing out that the trial date had been set for months, and that the case is nearly 3 years old.
The owner of the motel where the encounter happened in one room and allegedly taped in another also testified Thursday.
Mosharraf Hossain said it was former Atlantic City Council President Craig Callaway who reserved Rooms 101 and 102 at the Bayview Motel in Absecon, in November 2006.
In one of those rooms, Councilman Eugene Robinson received oral sex from Kristyn Haino. In the other, Callaway and others were allegedly filming the tryst.
Floyd Tally and Callaways brothers Ronald and David are on trial on charges they helped set up the sex act with Haino -- who was working as a prostitute -- then taped it in an attempt to force Robinson to resign.
Hossain said he required a registration card be signed for the rooms. Craig Callaway later came to Hossain's home to retrieve that card, he testified. When he said he didn't have it, he said Callaway showed him the video.
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