After a week of jury selection and motions, the trial of John Donald Cody aka “Bobby Thompson” got underway in earnest Monday. Here are some key takeaways from the first day of the U.S. Navy Vets’ founder’s trial.
One of the first witnesses was Jeff Testerman, a retired investigative reporter from the Tampa Bay Times. He testified that the U.S. Navy Vets had mail-drop chapters in 40 states and that over eight months of reporting, he and a researcher couldn’t verify the existence of ANY of those chapters’ officers. All the names appeared to be fictitious. The only person he ever met who was real was Thompson. Thompson waved to Testerman from the defense table.
Another prosecution witness was Helen MacMurray, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association attorney. Earlier, she had been chief of charity compliance for the Ohio Attorney General. She testified that Thompson told her the organization had chapters in every state that didn’t require a financial audit of charities. She also said she’d asked to meet with some of the organizations officers but that Thompson had rebuffed her. She earned $275,000 representing the Navy Vets between October 2007 and July 2010. Read more »