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Fayette County grand jury clears Chief Porter

Greg Porter

Greg Porter

FAYETTEVILLE — After being empaneled all day Friday, a Fayette County grand jury declined to indict Clayton County Police Chief Greg Porter on racketeering and other charges.

The panel heard and discounted testimony and evidence against Porter, his brother, Clayton County sheriff’s Deputy Robert Porter, Chief Porter’s wife, Sabrina Porter, and former court worker Katrina Hand.

The women didn’t attend the proceedings and the brothers left before the indictment was returned in open court to attend a Clayton County Police Department Christmas gala.

Deputy Porter’s attorney, Pandora Palmer, called the men to give them the good news.

“They are ecstatic and were screaming,” she said. “They are relieved and couldn’t believe it. They could hardly talk.”

Lulu Ma represented Chief Porter during the proceedings.

“I think the grand jurors gave careful thought to the decision they made,” said Ma.

T. Michael Martin, who represented Sabrina Porter, agreed with Ma.

“They asked questions and the answers they got showed no crime had been committed,” said Martin. “The nightmare is over for these folks.”

The indictment was opened in Fayette County Superior Court by Judge Fletcher Sams without comment. A court clerk then left with the documents to make copies and returned about 15 minutes later. It was only then that the attorneys saw the “no bill” notation on the paperwork.

Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard and Prosecuting Attorneys Council Executive Director Chuck Spahos said the jurors gave the evidence thoughtful consideration.

“They did what they thought was fair,” said Ballard. “They listened to the evidence and asked very intelligent questions. All we ever wanted was fair consideration.”

The presentment was the culmination of an investigation by Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“The GBI did a thorough investigation and the grand jury heard the facts and made its decision,” said Spahos. “As far as the Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Fayette District Attorney’s Office, absent additional evidence, we won’t be seeking another indictment.”

The investigation stemmed from an allegation of over-billing of Clayton County State Court. The brothers’ own consulting firms, Eagle Eye and Busy Body, that contracted in 2009 with DUI Court to provide home surveillance of probationers. Greg Porter was deputy chief under former police Chief Jeff Turner, who is now Clayton County Commission chairman.

Clayton County Court Administrator Matt Sorensen said he and State Court Judge Linda S. Cowen discovered a discrepancy in June 2012 in the way Porter was paid in 2009 but Sorensen declined to be more specific, citing the ongoing investigation.