4:30 p.m. Mark Jones’ former lawyer, Chris Breault, has been taken into custody and being held in contempt of court for 48 hours.
Check back in here for tomorrow’s coverage.
2:40 p.m. Mark Jones’ former lawyer, Chris Breault, has been held in contempt by Superior Court Judge Katherine Lumsden.
In a tense exchanged, Lumsden erupted as she talked to Breault.
Breault was testifying in Jones’ public corruption trial when he mentioned the previous property damage case against Jones.
Lumsden immediately sent the jury out of the room. She told him she was holding him in contempt. And she would send him to jail when he finished testifying.
Breault was asked what kind of law he practiced by Deputy Attorney General John Fowler.
He then mentioned the “Donut case,” which is a criminal property damage case in which Breault represented Jones. The case ended in a mistrial because of witness misconduct in September. Charges against Jones were later dropped.
Lumsden had ruled that testimony about that case could not come into this trial. Breault was Jones’ attorney at the time. Lumsden later dismissed him from the case because he was a witness in this case.
Breault resumed testifying. Lumsden stopped the trial and sent the jury out of the room again.
As she admonished Breault, Lumsden said, “You are one of the top three most argumentative witnesses I have seen,” she said. “And you are a lawyer.”
Breault responded, “I am just trying my best your honor. I have never been a witness before.”
12:10 p.m. Chief Assistant DA Sheneka Terry is done testifying. Jury breaks for lunch.
11:50 a.m. The state introduced a video of a 10-minute conversation between Jones and a Columbus police detective that is at the center of the nine charges against Jones.
Some of the jurors were on the edge of their seats, leaning in as they watched the profanity-laced video of Jones and Cpl. Sherman Hayes.
The state claims that Jones asked Hayes to lie under oath to upgrade charges to murder in a voluntary manslaughter case.
The conversation took place in July late one night. Jones has been drinking, celebrating a court win that day, and Hayes was working an off-duty security detail downtown.
Hayes was the lead detective in the death of Sara Holtrop, who was shot to death by Elijah Farral earlier this year. Hayes said the investigation indicated it was an accident.
The exchange was captured on body camera video. Hayes said he notified his superiors.
“I wanted there to be a record that Mr. Jones asked me to lie,” Hayes said.
Defense attorney Katonga Wright focused her question on Hayes about procedural issues and why he reported the incident to his supervisors.
After Hayes finished his testimony, the state called Acting District Attorney Sheneka Terry, who was the chief assistant under Jones.
She outlined how Jones sent her a text offering her $1,000 bonus for a murder conviction back in March. She said it upset her.
And time and again under questioning from Deputy Attorney General John Fowler and Wright, she said the offer of a bonus for a murder conviction was illegal and against the oath that prosecutors take.
9:20 a.m. COLUMBUS,Ga. (WRBL) — The third day and second one of witness testimony is underway in the public corruption trial of suspended District Attorney Mark Jones.
Before the jury came in a frustrated and agitated Superior Court Judge Katherine Lumsden dressed down the defense as she was deciding if she would admit evidence in the involuntary manslaughter case against Elijah Farral. The centerpiece of the state’s case is that Jones asked Columbus Police Detective Sherman Hayes to lie under oath to upgrade the charges to murder.
Lumsden reviewed police files overnight in the case only to find out the defense already had them.
Defense attorney Katonga Wright entered the case on the eve of the trial.
“You are in a position of cleaning up a mess that your client made on purpose,” the judge told Wright.
She responded, “I am doing the best I can.”
Jones has asked for a continuance, but Lumsden has been steadfast in not allowing it.
“I am not going to continue this trial,” Lumsden said. “You are going to have make do with what you have.”
Wright knocked down Jones’ original witness list of 200 names to 68. That was not enough for Lumsden.
She took it under advisement but said she was not allowing the list as it was. She pointed out that Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters was still on the list. Peters is a former landlord of Jones. Wright said he would be a character witness.
Lumsden pointed out that was not possible under Georgia’s judicial rules.
The jury was brought in and the state’s first witness was Hayes.