From the Circuit Court of St. Louis County; Criminal Appeal; Judge Robert L. Campbell.
Motion for Rehearing Overruled, Transfer Denied September 15, 1983. Application Denied October 18, 1983.
Before Crandall, P.j., Reinhard, Crist, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reinhard
Defendant was convicted of bribery of a public servant, a violation of § 576.010, RSMo. 1978, and was sentenced to six months in the county jail and fined $5,000.00. He appeals. We affirm.
The Board of Directors of the Wellston Fire Protection District set an election on a twenty five cent tax increase for Tuesday, April 7, 1981. The District provides fire protection to Pagedale, six other cities and a portion of unincorporated St. Louis County. The Board reported that if the voters did not approve the tax increase firefighters would have to be laid off. Defendant was president of the union which represented the Wellston firefighters and strongly supported the tax increase.
On March 26, 1981, William Speiser, Leatrice Dowd, John Howe, John Wolf, the City of Pagedale, the City of Wellston, the Village of Hillsdale, and others filed suit against the Wellston Fire Protection District and the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners seeking to temporarily and permanently enjoin defendants from placing the tax proposition on the ballot because it was illegal. William Speiser was the elected mayor of the City of Pagedale and Dowd, Howe and Wolf were elected members of Pagedale's Board of Aldermen.
On March 27, 1981, the trial court ordered the District and the Board of Election Commissioners to show cause on April 2, 1981, why a temporary restraining order should not be granted.
William Speiser, Mayor of Pagedale, was the principal witness against defendant. He testified that in a series of meetings and phone conversations on March 31 and April 1, 1981, defendant offered him money and other benefits in return for which the City of Pagedale would withdraw from the lawsuit in St. Louis County challenging the legality of the election. Two of these conversations were recorded. Defendant believed that the City of Pagedale was the most important party-plaintiff to the lawsuit and if Pagedale withdrew, the resolve of the remaining plaintiffs would diminish. On April 2, the trial court denied the plaintiffs' request for a temporary injunction. The voters defeated the tax increase and subsequently plaintiffs dismissed their petition as moot.
Section 576.010.1, RSMo. 1978, provides:
A person commits the crime of bribery of a public servant if he knowingly offers, confers or agrees to confer upon any public servant any benefit, direct or indirect, in return for:
(1) The recipient's official vote, opinion, recommendation, judgment, decision, action or exercise of discretion as a public servant; or
(2) The recipient's violation of a known legal duty as a public servant.
The state's verdict-directing instruction required the jury find that defendant offered money or other benefits to William Speiser "in return for the official recommendation of William Speiser as mayor of the City of Pagedale . . . that the City of Pagedale withdraw from a lawsuit filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court."
On appeal, defendant principally contends the state failed to make a submissible case because there was no evidence that "Mayor William Speiser was acting in his official ...