Jeff Jafari's lawyer says others paid off city official and weren't charged

The legal wrangling in the ongoing Atlanta bribery investigation was heating up in federal court today.

The attorney for a city vendor charged with bribing a top city official says other people made cash payments to that same official but were never prosecuted. Attorney Steve Sadow wants to know who those people are.

Sadow told a magistrate judge if his client, Jeff Jafari, gave a city official cash, it could be considered a gift, not a corrupt payment.

Jafar was not in court during motions hearing.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury handed up a 51 count indictment against Jeff Jafari charging him with bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering.

The indictment alleges Jafari paid more than $40,000 to former Mayor Kasim Reed's chief procurement officer Adam Smith seen here in an undercover FBI photo.

In January 2018, Smith plead guilty to one count of bribery conspiracy. 

In today's hearing, Jafari's attorney, Steve Sadow provided a glimpse of how he plans to defend his clent. Sadow argued prosecutors need to turn over critical information that could help that defense. He told a judge that even if Jafari did give cash to Adam Smith, it is not necessarily illegal.

"If you give it to him as a friend or good will, any reason as other than dishonesty in the way he would use his influence, it's not illegal. That's the law," Sadow said outside of court.

Sadow argued that there would be no reason for his client to give Adam Smith a bribe, because Smith's job - as head of procurement - didn't allow him to influence who could win bids at the city. 

"Adam Smith did not have the authority to approve projects in the city of Atlanta," Sadow told reporters later.

Sadow said other people gave Smith corrupt cash and were not charged with a crime, and he wants the judge to order federal prosecutors to turn over the names of any other people who gave Adam Smith cash payments and how much they paid him.

"Other people were not prosecuted because they did not have corrupt intent, any more so than Mr. Jafari. Rather than take a chance of losing, they didn't make a case," said Sadow.

Sadow also filed a motion asking a judge to suppress three statements made by Jafari made during his arrest and before he was indicted.

Assistant US Attorney, Jill Steinberg, told a judge she would answer the arguments in writing.