Mark Jones Trial Day 4: Updates from inside courtroom

Local News

6:25 p.m. — The jury delivering the fate of embattled District Attorney Mark Jones broke for the night just after 6 p.m., Thursday.

They deliberated for an hour and 20 minutes before sending Judge Katherine Lumsden a note saying they were tired and ready to go home. The jury asked to re-watch video tape evidence of Jones’ and Columbus Police Corporal Sherman Hayes, that tape is at the center of the state’s case.

The jury will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday and Lumsden said she would replay the 10 minute video.

4:35 p.m. —The fate of suspended Muscogee County District Attorney Mark Jones is now in the hands of a seven-woman, five-man jury.

The state and the defense both made closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

At 4:45 p.m. Superior Court Judge Katherine Lumsden sent the jurors back to the jury room for deliberations.

Defense attorney Katonga Wright, who entered the case on the eve of the trial, took an usual tack in her closing.

Jones was elected last year on a populist campaign platform and took office in January.

“The People’s DA, yes,” she told the jury. “Maybe the People’s dumba**. But that’s not criminal.”

Deputy Attorney General John Fowler was clear that Jones during in his first eight months in office was more concerned about Mark Jones and his public perception than he was justice. And in doing that Jones violated the law. 

2:36 p.m. — Closing arguments have started. The state usually goes first but waived that. Defense attorney Katonga Wright had to go first. She opened with a Biblical reference to David vs. Goliath. She referred to the state as Goliath.

Here are the counts Jones is facing and the person it involves:

Count 1 – Influencing witnesses (Columbus Police Cpl. Sherman Hayes) 

Count 2 – Attempted Subornation of perjury (Hayes) 

Count 3 – Violation of oath of office (Hayes) 

Count 4 – Bribery (Assistant District Attorney Sheneka Terry) 

Count 5 – Bribery (Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Schwartz) 

Count 6 – Attempted violation of oath of office (Terry) 

Count 7 – Attempted violation of oath of office (Schwartz) 

Count 8 – Influencing witnesses (Victim’s nephew Chris Bailey) 

Count 9 – Violation of oath of office (Bailey) 

12:30 p.m. — Closing arguments are scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

10:25 a.m. — Mercer University Law Professor Katie Powers is finished testifying. The state has rested its case.

Defense attorney Katonga Wright told the judge they did not plan to call any witnesses on a 200-person witness list Jones submitted before trial.

The decision now is if Jones will testify in his own defense. Jones told the judge he will not testify in his own defense on the advice of counsel.

Deputy Attorney General John Fowler was using her as an expert on ethics. She is a former prosecutor in Clayton County. 

Fowler asked her about specific testimony that was entered into evidence during the trial. 

Powers said in her opinion Jones violated the law and his oath of office when: 

— Jones offered a $1,000 bonus to Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Schwartz to tell a judge she was ready to try a murder trial when she was not. 

— Jones asked Columbus Police Cpl. Sherman Hayes to testify to under oath to evidence in a murder trial that he did not have. 

— Jones offered bonuses to attorneys for murder convictions. 

On cross-examination, Katonga Wright asked Powers if she was aware of the difference between unethical and illegal. 

“Sometimes they are both,” Powers said. 

Powers has completed her testimony.

9:20 a.m. — An attorney representing Columbus attorney Chris Breault addressed the court asking that his client be released from Muscogee County Jail.

Superior Court Judge Katherine Lumsden held Breault in criminal contempt during his testimony in the public corruption trial of suspended DA Mark Jones. She had Breault taken into custody and ordered him to serve 48 hours in the Muscogee County Jail.

Breault’s attorney, Bentley C. Adams III, argued that Breault was entitled to an appeal bond. Lumsden set the bond at $5,000.

“I do not think he’s a danger to the community,” Lumsden said. “I do think he’s a danger to the order and administration of justice.”

Breault was ordered to stay away from the Government Center for the remainder of the trial.

The trial resumed at 9:15 a.m. with the state still calling witnesses. The first witness was Mercer Law School professor Katie Powers, an attorney, and expert on legal ethics.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) Mark Jones’ public corruption trial is set to resume tomorrow morning, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m.

News 3 will continue to provide updates here from inside the courtroom.

In the mean time, readers can catch up on this case by reading below:

11/10/2021 – Attorney Chris Breault held in criminal contempt of court in DA Mark Jones’ public corruption trial

11/10/2021 – Mark Jones Trial Day 3: Updates from inside courtroom

11/09/2021 – Day 2 suspended DA Mark Jones’ public corruption trial

11/08/2021 – Live updates from the courtroom: Public corruption trial of suspended DA Mark Jones starts this morning in Muscogee County Superior Court

11/07/2021 – A recap of suspended DA Mark Jones legal troubles as state prepares to prosecute him Monday in public corruption trial

10/25/2001 — Attorney Chris Breault dismissed by judge in DA Mark Jones’ criminal case

10/22/2021 – Office manager for Muscogee County District Attorney suspended, tells News 3 she plans to resign

10/21/2021 – Judge weighing decision on whether to remove embattled DA Mark Jones’ criminal defense attorney

10/19/2021 – State asks judge to remove Chris Breault as DA Mark Jones’ criminal defense attorney

10/13/2021 – New prosecution allegations in suspended DA Mark Jones case raise questions about cocaine use

10/12/2021 – Chris Breault representing suspended District Attorney Mark Jones in criminal case

10/08/2021 – State claims embattled DA Mark Jones had issues at a downtown bar before he allegedly asked cop to lie under oath

10/07/2021 – Prosecutor includes ‘illegal drugs’ restriction in bond modification motion for suspended DA Mark Jones

10/04/2021 – Governor suspends embattled District Attorney Mark Jones

9/16/2021 – DA Mark Jones’ indictment: He’s accused of asking a police officer to lie so charge could be upgraded to murder

09/07/2021 – News 3 interviews D.A. Mark Jones on his way out of jail

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