D.A. Elect Slater Appears in Court

Dec. 9, 2008

MACON, GA (WXTX) - He leads one of Columbus's biggest law firms and defends hundreds of cases but now, attorney Mark Shellnut himself is at the center of a federal probe.

Both the current District Attorney, Gray Conger, and the lawyer for D.A. Elect Julia Slater, Page Pate, tell WTVM that Shellnut is being investigated in connection to a Harris County drug case back in 2006, where lawyers in his firm, including Slater, represented all four defendants.

"I believe this is limited to Mark Shellnut, and limited to him not properly reporting money that was received by clients," said Pate, Slater's attorney.

Pate also says Slater never knew about any wrongdoing.

"Let me say clearly this is not true, I have never had any indication that my firm or myself has ever been accused of any wrongdoing whatsoever," said Slater during that on-air debate.

The assistant U.S. District Attorney in charge of the grand jury probe, Joe Newman, tells WXTX that as of right now, Julia Slater is only a witness, and is not a defendant or subject of investigation.

He cannot confirm, though, if Mark Shellnut is in fact being investigated.

With no convictions or indictments in the case, Shellnut continues to uphold his innocence.

"I will say I have never been notified that I am a target of the investigation. I have never been subpoenaed to testify, and I'm certainly not concerned about anything Mrs. Slater would have to say about me," said Shellnut.

No decision came out of the grand jury Tuesday.

Several of the other lawyers in the Shellnut Firm were also called to testify.