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Targeted officials want DA off investigation

JONESBORO — Three county commissioners, the county manager and the finance director want the Clayton District Attorney’s Office disqualified from investigating their alleged criminal misconduct, according to a filing Wednesday in Superior Court.

Clayton District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson is seeking an indictment against finance director Angela Jackson on four felony counts of avoiding public records and a misdemeanor charge of violating the state’s records retention law in connection to an open records request for cell phone records. Lawson impaneled a special grand jury for that purpose more than a year ago.

Fayetteville attorney T. Michael Martin has been representing Jackson and, according to the filing, also represents commissioners Gail Hambrick, Wole Ralph and Sonna Singleton and County Manager Wade Starr. They accuse Lawson of using the investigation to further her political career.

Lawson is seeking her second term and faces challenger Leslie Miller Terry. Starr and Hambrick each contributed the maximum donation allowed by an individual, $2,500, to Terry’s campaign. Singleton’s car displays Terry’s campaign signs.

The action targets a re-election letter Lawson sent to supporters in May that alleges Starr drafted Terry to run against her. Lawson described Starr as the “controlling force” behind the county commissioners who “voted to raise your property taxes 34 percent.”

“All four are also currently under investigation by my office,” the letter stated. “The people I am investigating will do anything to get me out of office. Please, for the sake of Clayton County, do not let them succeed.”

The filing alleges the letter “makes it clear that Ms. Graham Lawson is using the fact that she is investigating (the five officials) for the purpose of raising funds for a political purpose, her re-election campaign.”

In the filing, Martin goes on to include standards from the American Bar Association that address prosecutors and the “implication or appearance of partiality or conflict of interest” that could cast a shadow over the integrity of the office. Martin posits that Lawson’s actions should be above suspicion and includes state law that provides for the disqualification of a prosecutor “if he or she has an interest or relationship that might prejudice him or her in the exercise of their professional duties.”

The five ask that the matter be reviewed by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and that a hearing be held.

Lawson declined to comment on the filing.

“I’m going to remain silent,” she said. “When the judge sets the hearing, we’ll respond appropriately in court.”

In April 2011, Clayton Superior Court Chief Judge Deborah Benefield ruled that county attorneys Michael Smith and Christie Cross-Barnes can testify if a grand jury hears evidence against Jackson. Martin appealed the ruling.

Lawson made headlines in the last couple of years when she began convening special grand juries to investigate public officials. Her office has indicted former Sheriff Victor Hill and several of his former employees; a former manager at the Clayton County Water Authority; former Morrow City Manager John Lampl and former Forest Park City Councilwoman Karen-Brandee Williams.

Comments

OscarKnight 2 years, 5 months ago

Quote : "Three county commissioners, the county manager and the finance director want the Clayton District Attorney’s Office disqualified "

.......Riddle Me with This :

....Would these Three Commissioners happen to be ....."Commissioners Sonna Singleton, Gail Hambrick and Wole Ralph" ?


...Are these the same three that Voted to Raise Our County Millage Rate ?

..................................................................................................................................

...Are the the same three that Voted to Appoint Wade Starr As County Manager ?

Quote : "The commission voted 3-1 Tuesday night to appoint Starr, currently the county’s fleet maintenance director, to the newly created position. Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell voted against the appointment, while Commissioner Michael Edmondson was not present for the vote."

........................................................................................................................................

......The Duck Test : "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

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OscarKnight 2 years, 5 months ago

.....It is extremely offensive to me, to actually ponder the notion, that these Officials should even think of us as the fools that they take us to be.

.....Some of us still continues to live in Clayton County, whether they like it or not !!!

.....These games that they are playing in Clayton County, is old timely back woods side show tomfoolery tricks..

.....This Side Show is called ; "Birds of a feather flock together" .

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OscarKnight 2 years, 5 months ago

...Riddle me with this :

......If Clayton County was to have a Fool's Parade, who would be out front twirling the baton ?

...It is often said that "Clayton County is a gift that keeps on giving". ........In my opinion, This Side Show is only one of these gifts.

.........If these three Commissioners, and their Side Kick, Can't Do Anything But Provide Clayton County with Only Laughs, At Least We Can Say;

.......Thanks Again, for the Laughs !!!

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MD 2 years, 5 months ago

This is funny! These people have guts to try this! They must be guilty for sure! Prosecute! If they succeed, bring in the state to prosecute them. Its time to weed these people out of government if they are guilty.

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OscarKnight 2 years, 5 months ago

...Its too bad that the tarring and feathering punishment isn't enforced anymore, otherwise, Someone would be riding a rail out from this county,

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OscarKnight 2 years, 4 months ago

.......Another question that you should be asking yourself :

......Has our County Government became Self Employed on our Tax Trough ?

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