Defense lawyers and federal prosecutors presented closing arguments Thursday morning to a jury that will decide whether to convict former City-County Councilor Lincoln Plowman on bribery and attempted extortion charges.
"Mr. Plowman made a choice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Vaughn told the jurors. “Rather than looking out for the interests of his citizens, he decided to look out for his own interests.”
Plowman, also a former Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department major, is accused of using his official position to collect $6,000 for helping to grease the wheels for a new strip club.
A grand jury indicted Plowman in September 2010. From August to December of 2009, the indictment says, Plowman solicited an undercover FBI agent to pay him $5,000 in cash and make a $1,000 campaign contribution in exchange for Plowman’s help with strip club zoning.
Defense attorney James Voyles argued that Plowman had a legitimate side business as a consultant to local strip clubs and even insisted to the undercover agent that the $5,000 be reported on a 1099 tax form.
“What I would ask you to do,” Voyles implored the jury, “is to give him back his pride, give him back his name. So that man Lincoln Plowman can face his friends, face his neighbors.”
Plowman, a Republican who was elected to the council in 2003, was a member of the council’s Metropolitan Development Committee, which recommends appointments to the Board of Zoning Appeals. That board reviews petitions for zoning law variances.
In his closing remarks, Vaughn said, "This is not somebody paying the babysitter. This is $5,000 in cash for a zoning variance.”
FBI agents closed in on Plowman on Dec. 22, 2009, during a meeting with the undercover informant at the downtown Conrad hotel. At that meeting, they notified him of the sting.