Former City-County Councilor Plowman found guilty

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Former City County Councilor Lincoln Plowman, found guilty Thursday afternoon of federal bribery and attempted extortion charges, will await sentencing on home detention.

Federal prosecutors asked Judge Larry McKinney to incarcerate Plowman until sentencing, citing his affinity for visiting Costa Rica and his police experience that could aid him in forging identification documents.

But Plowman told the judge that he had met all his probation requirements as he pleaded for mercy.

“I have nothing to hide,” he told the judge. “I don’t have a passport. I’m not a spy. I can’t produce my own documents.”

Plowman also said that he and his wife have 17-month-old and 10-year-old sons at home. He also told the judge that he is working as a punch-press operator at a Greenwood medical company.

The judge did not set a sentencing date, but ordered home detention. Plowman faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the attempted extortion conviction and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for the bribery conviction.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Plowman guilty. After the conviction, U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said the conviction should send a message to every public official in Indiana.

“Public office in Indiana is not for sale,” he said. “No man or woman is above the law.

Plowman mugPlowman

"Mr. Plowman made a choice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Vaughn told the jurors in his closing arguments Thursday morning. “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, was 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 said, 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 in court 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 in closing arguments, “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.

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