Lawyer wants Scientology link kept out of trial - 1989-01-06
Johnson, a nationally known lawyer who has held high positions in the American Bar Association, is scheduled to go on trial Monday on charges that he extorted money from an Orlando-based construction company in 1981, used the money to bribe three former Hillsborough County Commissioners, then lied about it before a federal grand jury. He is the last of 25 people, including real estate brokers, developers, business owners and lawyers, to go on trial in the Hillsborough County corruption case filed by federal prosecutors in May 1985.
A former Hillsborough County state attorney and a respected lawyer in Tampa, Johnson has repeatedly maintained his innocence. In court papers filed Thursday, however, Johnson's attorney, F. Lee Bailey, argued that potential jurors in the trial may be prejudiced against Johnson if they learn that he has represented the Scientologists in a number of legal matters, including a pending property tax dispute with Pinellas County.