Newell re-convicted in new Comcast trial

By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
Dec. 13, 2003
C.D. "Bubba" Newell was convicted for a second time Friday in U.S. District Court of conspiring to defraud Comcast of millions of dollars in the mid-1990s.
The U.S. Attorney's office alleged that Newell and four Meridian business people defrauded Comcast of $2.6 million in a money-laundering scheme between 1994 and 1996.
Prosecutors identified David Van Colvin, then regional manager of Comcast-Primestar, as the person who directed the conspiracy.
Colvin pleaded guilty in 1999 and agreed to testify against four co-defendants during their April 2001 trial. Two were acquitted. A third was cleared of the conspiracy counts, but convicted of a single count of mail fraud.
The jury saved its heaviest condemnation for the final defendant in the 2001 trial C.D. "Bubba" Newell, a former vice president of Trustmark National Bank in Meridian.
Newell was convicted of all 18 counts against him: conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money-laundering, 12 counts of money-laundering and three counts of income tax evasion.
He was sentenced to four years, nine months in a federal prison.
Successful appeal
Newell took his case to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. His new attorney was appeals specialist Michele Fournet of Baton Rogue, La.
Fournet argued that Newell's conviction should be overturned because his lawyer in the 2001 trial, Henry Palmer, represented two of the four Comcast defendants. She said this created an insurmountable conflict of interest.
The 5th Circuit Court agreed in December 2002, criticizing both Palmer and U.S. District Judge Tom Lee, overturning the conviction and ordering a new trial.
Newell hired a new trial lawyer and the case had been scheduled, and re-scheduled, ever since.
New trial
Newell finally got his new day in court this week as a second trial on the same charges opened Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson.
As in the first trial, Judge Lee presided and Assistant U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain presented the federal government's case.
The jury began its deliberations about 2 p.m. Friday and announced its verdict less than three hours later. The result was the same as in the first trial, guilty on all counts.
This time around, however, the forfeiture counts against Newell were dismissed which means he is off the hook for about $1 million in restitution to Comcast.
After the trial, Newell was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27.