COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A week after embattled Muscogee County District Attorney Mark Jones retained Chris Breault as his defense lawyer, the State of Georgia is asking that Breault be removed from the case.
The state’s latest motion asks Houston County Superior Court Judge Katherine K. Lumsden to disqualify Breault, because he’s a potential witness in the case.
The trial is scheduled to start on November 8th.
Breault said for weeks that he was not representing Jones in this case that alleges criminal misconduct in Jones’ first eight months in office. Breault had said he wanted to see the evidence first.
Jones had been representing himself. That changed at the arraignment Oct. 12th when Breault became his attorney. By that time, Breault said he had reviewed the evidence in the case.
It happened despite a pending motion that claimed Breault played a part in what the state termed a prior “bad act.”
Assistant Attorney General John Fowler is asking the judge to admit evidence that Breault had a Facebook conversation with a witness in a murder case that ended in a hung jury. Jones–who has since been suspended, was considering a retrial.
The state claims it shows the lengths Jones will go to obtain convictions in murder cases. Another one of the allegations is that Jones asked a Columbus police officer to lie under oath to upgrade a manslaughter charge to murder.
In the motion, the state says that Breault must take the state in the case for two reasons.
“Mr. Breault is the only person who can overcome the hearsay objection to his statements in the Facebook messages. The testimony of the murder witness can not do that. Mr. Breault’s conversations with the defendant are important to establish how Mr. Breault came in contact with the witnesss.”
Breault issued the following statement: “The authorities know they can’t beat DA Mark Jones on a fake case if I am his lawyer. They are doing everything they can to get rid of me. Like him or hate him, Mr. Jones deserves a fair trial with the counsel of his choosing.”
Breault recently represented Jones in a criminal case alleging property damage to the Columbus Civic Center parking lot during the taping of a 2020 campaign rap video. That case, tried in September, ended in a mistrial when multiple witnesses were watching live-stream video of the trial.
In this motion, the prosecution points out that Jones hired Breault with full knowledge that the state wanted to use him as a witness in the case.