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Charged Roanoke councilman maintaining innocence, determined to keep seat

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 4:01 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke’s City Council chamber was filled with its elected officials for their informal session Thursday morning.

This included councilman Robert Jeffrey, Jr., his first meeting appearance since a grand jury indicted him on two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses from the Economic Development Authority for the city of Roanoke.

“I intend to keep my seat on council,” said Jeffrey to WDBJ7 after the meeting. “I am completely innocent of these current charges.”

Roanoke’s commonwealth attorney’s office says evidence leading to the larceny charges was discovered while investigating Jeffrey for embezzlement. Jeffrey is accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars from the Northwest Neighborhood Environmental Organization while working as a property manager.

Those charges were filed in July.

“I love Roanoke very much, and I know Roanoke and I know the history of Roanoke. I vehemently, once everything is said and done, I will be vindicated from these charges, period,” says Jeffrey. “All I ask for the citizens is to take the time to make sure we go through this due process. This is what this city and what this county’s about.”

Vice-Mayor Patricia White-Boyd says the council is not planning to take any action regarding Jeffrey’s role, and there is no internal investigation taking place.

“Council cannot remove Mr. Jeffrey,” says White-Boyd. “He is a member of this council and there has not been a hearing or anything, he’s not been convicted of anything.”

Before we left, Jeffrey had another message he wanted to make clear to citizens.

“I do ask that we leave my colleagues alone,” adds Jeffrey. “My colleagues have been tremendous in making sure that we do our job. They do not have the authority to do anything in this matter.”

As for the embezzlement charges, Jeffrey was scheduled to be in court October 25, according to court records, but at a hearing Wednesday his attorney asked for additional preparation time.

The jury trial for those charges has now been rescheduled to March 14 of next year.

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