Mark Shelnutt avoids jail, takes plea deal - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mark Shelnutt avoids jail, takes plea deal

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A well-known Columbus attorney avoided jail time by taking a plea deal.  Attorney Mark Shelnutt pleaded no contest to drug charges stemming from a 2010 arrest.

News Leader 9 spoke with his attorney, Charles Cox, who said Shelnutt is happy with the sentence.

Shelnutt has been in and out of court over the past several years, facing serious charges including money laundering.

He was in court again Tuesday. Shelnutt pled no contest to two counts of having prescription medications not in their original container.

It was a three-month long investigation that lead to his arrest two years ago.

According to GBI agents, they had Shelnutt on video and audio dealing prescription pills to an informant, which we later found out was his secretary.

Cox said the charges are a misdemeanor and he's being sentenced under first offender status.

"There's been no action taken on his bar license.  I do not anticipate any action being taken on his bar license.  He has continued to practice throughout this and I expect him to continue to practice without any action taken against him," said Cox. "[the probation is] Two years; it's 12 months on each count run consecutively up to two years. Quite honestly, I don't expect it to run anywhere near that long."

Cox says the probation could be suspended early once Shelnutt completes the Lawyers Assistance Program.

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