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Appeals court rejects new trial for former Va. lawmaker convicted of bribery, extortion

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RICHMOND, Virginia — A federal appeals court has refused to order a new trial for a former Virginia legislator serving 9½ years in prison for bribery and extortion.

The ruling Tuesday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a judge's August decision denying Phillip A. Hamilton's bid for a new trial.

Hamilton is a Newport News Republican who was vice chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee,. Hewas convicted in 2011 of soliciting a job as director of an Old Dominion University teacher training center he helped create with taxpayer money.

In his bid for a new trial, Hamilton claimed that a star prosecution witness lied to investigators and in court. The appeals court found no error in a judge's conclusion that the statements did not amount to newly discovered evidence.

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