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Former Morrow city manager back in court Thursday

JONESBORO — Embattled former Morrow City Manager John Lampl is expected back in Superior Court Thursday afternoon to argue motions in his criminal case.

Lampl faces six counts of making false statements and writings, and one each of conspiracy in restraint of open and free competition and perjury.

Lampl was indicted last year on charges he lied about Olde Towne Morrow, a now-defunct commercial development near Southlake Mall. Prosecutors also alleged he conspired with others to avoid the contract bid process. He is out on $80,000 bond and is expected to go to trial in October.

Lampl and his defense attorney, Brian Steel, were in Judge Albert Collier’s courtroom last month, trying to get access to documents connected to the special purpose grand jury that investigated him.

Steel said he is particularly interested in the paperwork related to the perjury charge, including Lampl’s own testimony and the judge’s order convening the special purpose grand jury.

However, those documents were sealed by Clayton County Superior Court Chief Judge Deborah Benefield. Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers argued last month that they should remain sealed because of the ongoing investigation.

Powers asked instead that Collier review the documents in his chambers. Once the documents are released to the defendant, they become part of the public record and could jeopardize other investigations, she said.

Collier took the motion under advisement in July and said he’d make a decision as soon as possible.

Lampl has a long history with Morrow, having served on the council 20 years ago, working as city manager and then executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, before being elected back to the council in a March 2010 special election. Three months later, Lampl faced allegations of intimidation and was removed from council in May 2011.