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Testimony begins in case against Bobby Thompson

12:38 PM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND --  The newspaperman who broke stories that helped uncover an alleged $100 million fraud posing as a veterans charity has taken the stand at the defendant's Ohio trial.

Jeff Testerman is a retired Tampa Bay Times reporter and was the first witness Monday at the Cleveland trial of the 67-year-old defendant who calls himself Bobby Thompson. Authorities have identified him as Harvard-trained lawyer John Donald Cody.

Testerman told jurors that he couldn't reach people identified by the charity as its accountant or internal auditor. He started poking around when he heard the defendant identify himself as a retired Navy commander.

The defendant could face 40 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant Ohio Attorney General Brad Tammaro called the defendant a thief who cannot tell the truth. The defendant's attorney says his charity work was legal.

He could face 40 years in prison if convicted. The judge mentioned the possibility of a plea deal last week, but both sides discounted that possibility.

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By THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press

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