Williams' Lawyer Argues Against Suspension | News
John Williams' attorney says he should not be suspended from the Warner Robins council because criminal charges against Williams have nothing to do with his council duties.
The hearing lasted a little more than ten minutes.
The panel, requested by the governor on Jan. 27, is made up of Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Macon City Council member Rick Hutto and Vienna City Council member Elizabeth English.
The two council members were specially selected for this committee.
The group was charged with deciding if Williams should be suspended from his position because of a felony indictment.
A Houston County Grand Jury indicted Williams in November on one count of making false statements to police.
Attorney General Olens said Governor Nathan Deal asked for the review commission by executive order.
During the hearing, Williams' attorney, Charles Cox told the committee Williams should not be suspended because the indictment does not relate to his position as a council member.
Cox said, "That's what I wanted to highlight."
To illustrate that point, Cox presented a 13WMAZ article from November in which the special prosecutor on the case, Craig Fraser, said he would not forward Williams' indictment to the governor because the charge "didn't relate."
Cox said, "Mr. Fraser did not do that, because he made the decision on the front end that this did not relate to the administration of Mr. Williams' office, and determined it didn't meet the standard to be reported."
Cox also said the commission should consider the indictment in-light of a "highly charged political atmosphere" on the Warner Robins City Council.
Williams did not make a comment.
Olens, Hutto and English discussed the matter in a closed session. That meeting also lasted about ten minutes, and Olens said they were able to reach an agreement on a recommendation for the governor.
Olens said they would forward their opinion to the governor by the close of business Thursday.
Olens said, "The indictment needs to relate to an action of office. It has to adversely affect that office. It has to adversely affect the publics' interest of that individual to stay in that office. So, it's a very strict statutory section"
He said there is not a deadline for the governor to make a decision.
Olens said the recommendation by the panel will be a "privileged document", until the governor takes action.