A federal jury convicted Katopodis two weeks ago of 96 counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. Katopodis used a publicly funded charity for private purposes, including trips to casinos and overseas vacations. Myriad politicians benefited from charity funds, testimony in court showed. The City of Birmingham and Jefferson County gave more than $1 million to the charity between 2001 and 2007.
Katopodis appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit, his prisoner fatigues from the Shelby County Jail where he is being held.
Today's hearing shed some light on why Judge Bowdre remanded Katopodis into federal custody immediately upon his conviction two weeks ago. During the hearing, prosecutors entered into evidence a police report detailing an incident at the home of Birmingham City Council President Carole Smitherman.
Last week, Smitherman described the incident to Birmingham Weekly. On Monday, June 29, Katopodis appeared at Smitherman's home during the early evening. According to Smitherman, she had gone to pick up some food for dinner, but her daughter and granddaughter were at home at the time. Smitherman said her daughter called her saying someone was banging on the doors and windows. Smitherman called the police who sent an officer to the house. Once the officer was at the scene, Smitherman's daughter came out of the house, only to be accosted by Katopodis. Katopodis claimed he had a subpoena to serve to Smitherman, even though the defense had rested its case earlier that day.
During the trial, Smitherman testified that she felt pressured by Katopodis to attend a women's leadership conference in Cairo, Egypt. After she refused to go on the trip, Katopodis became angry with her, she testified. Testimony and evidence in court showed that Katopodis had already paid for the trip out of Computer Help for Kids funds.
Katopodis is scheduled for sentencing October 28.