Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Former Dodge County Sherriff Lawton Douglas & Others plead Not Guilty.

Former Dodge County Sheriff Lawton Douglas pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy and four counts of vote buying in Federal Court in Dublin on Thursday, October 1.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Leon Barfield read the six count indictment to Douglas, Olin Norman Gibson, a.k.a. “Bobo” and Thedy Deneen McLeod, a.k.a. “Deneen Gordon”, charging Douglas and Gibson with two counts of conspiracy and four counts of vote buying each and McLeod with two counts of conspiracy. Gibson and Gordon also pleaded not guilty.

Counts one and four of the indictment stated that Douglas, Gibson and Gordon together with other conspirators known and unknown to the grand jury did knowingly, willfully and unlawfully pay and offer to pay voters in the primary election on July 20, 2004 and in the runoff election on August 10, 2004 to vote for Douglas.
According to the indictment, Douglas, Gibson and Gordon would pay voters with cash, alcohol and drugs to vote for Douglas in the election. It also stated that Gibson would transport voters to the polls and accompany them into the voting booth in order to ensure that they voted for Douglas. Gordon would purchase and obtain blank absentee ballots from voters and deliver those ballots to Douglas. Then Douglas and Gordon would complete blank absentee ballots with votes for Douglas and submit those ballots to be counted in the elections.
Counts two, three, five and six of the indictment stated that Douglas and Gibson, aided by the others, did pay and offer to pay voters E.C. and C.C. for voting the primary and primary runoff elections in 2004.
U.S. District Attorney Brian Tanner told Judge Barfield that he planned to turn over to defense attorneys 327 pages of evidence consisting mostly of summaries of FBI and GBI interviews and witness testimony before the grand jury. He added that each defense attorney would receive a CD of taped recordings.
Judge Barfield released all three on a $10,000.00 unsecured bond each; they were ordered not to travel outside the court’s southern and middle districts, they were told to surrender all firearms to the probation officer, refrain from excessive use of alcohol, refrain from using narcotics, submit to drug/alcohol test and a 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. curfew. Because of the current jobs that Douglas and Gordon have, they will have to let their probation officer know if their schedule will not meet with the judge’s restrictions.
Judge Barfield also warned all defendants not to have any contact with witnesses or each other without their attorneys present.
The charges each carry a maximum of five years in prison, $250,000.00 fine and three years supervised release, Judge Barfield told the defendants.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent in Charge Greg Harvey stated, “The Dodge County voter fraud case continues to be an ongoing investigation by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the GBI. At the request of Oconee Circuit District Attorney (DA) Timothy Vaughn, State Attorney General Thurbert Baker has appointed DA Steven Kelly of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit as special prosecutor to handle state charges arising in this investigation. DA Kelly has assigned assistant DA David Perry of his office to handle the case. DA Vaughn has recused his office from handling this case. Additional charges on the state or federal level are yet to be determined as the investigation has not been completed.”
Harvey added, “This is just the 2004 elections, we are still investigating the 2008 elections.”
Judge Barfield did give attorneys 10 days to file motions, but when attorney Tanner stated he would be giving the three defense attorneys information, Judge Barfield said he would give an extension but not a lengthy one.

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