J.T. Burnette, a Florida businessman and the husband of Trulieve Cannabis CEO Kim Rivers, was sentenced to three years in federal prison and a $1.25 million fine for his conviction on bribery charges earlier this year.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Burnette apologized during his Tuesday sentencing for the damages caused by his actions. But he did not apologize for the crimes he was convicted of.
The judge in the case noted that a defendant planning an appeal wouldn’t make such an acknowledgement, the newspaper reported.
But Burnette’s attorneys promised an immediate appeal.
“The effects of my actions are far-reaching,” Burnette said. “There are no words to describe how sorry I am for the damages I have caused. For this, I am sorry.”
In August, Burnette was found guilty of participating in a multiyear scheme to extort bribery payments of $10,000 a month to a then-city commissioner in an effort to secure real estate development projects in Tallahassee.
He was ordered to report to the Florida Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 9, 2022.
Rivers, whose Florida-based company has become a marijuana industry titan, was one of several who wrote testimonials on behalf of Burnette to the presiding judge.
Neither Rivers nor Trulieve was accused of any wrongdoing in the Burnette case, which had no connection to the cannabis company.
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But the case renewed questions about the company’s dealings with a construction firm partly owned by Burnette.
In September, an MJBizDaily examination of regulatory filings showed that Trulieve had contracted to pay more than $230 million since 2018 to Florida-based Burnette Construction for work in Florida and Massachusetts.
After the guilty verdict in the case, Trulieve’s board of directors reiterated its “strong support” of Rivers.
“We have consistently maintained that neither Trulieve nor our CEO are involved in the case,” Trulieve said in a Twitter post in response to Burnette’s conviction.