New motion seeks to consolidate charges in Sumbry case

New motion filed in Sumbry case seeks to merge cases

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - A new motion in the perjury case of former Phenix City Councilman Arthur Sumbry, Sr. seeks to merge all charges into one trial, but the defense is against the idea, fearing it puts his client's case in jeopardy.

The longtime city leader's first charges stem from a warranty deed authorities say he forged, transferring the home of a 94-year-old man in 2009 and allegedly lied about it under oath.

New charges came about two years later after he reportedly tried to influence a potential juror. Sumbry is facing a total of five charges ranging from forgery to jury tampering.

Russell County District Attorney Ken Davis is asking the judge to merge the cases together. Defense attorney Michael Speakman claims consolidating the cases would create a prejudice against his client,

Speakman told News Leader 9 he believes jurors tend to the think if you're guilty of one case, you're guilty of all. He even cited case law from 2011, where the Alabama Court of Criminal appeals reversed a murder conviction of a former pastor because his case was improperly merged with a separate forgery case.

The judge is expected to make a decision before a February 15 status conference in which a trial date will likely be set.

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