Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against District Attorney Mark Jones
A campaign music video during last year’s District Attorney’s race landed the now elected DA in hot water. Now he’s on the opposite side of the court room he usually upholds the law in.
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A campaign music video during last years District Attorney’s race landed the now elected DA in hot water. Now he’s on the opposite side of the court room he usually upholds the law in.
The latest chapter in the destruction of property case against Mark Jones concluded with a judge not seeing things the same way as the District Attorney, and his attorney, Chris Breault.
“He was not driving the cars, he did ask anyone to do donuts there, the guys that did donuts as they testified, folks do donuts in the civic center parking lot and that’s why the whole parking lot is covered with donuts,” said Breault.
Friday, in a Muscogee County courtroom, special appointed judge, Jeffery Monroe set the stage for the trial against the now-elected D.A. for his role in a campaign music video, intended to reach a broader audience of voters, according to court testimony.
“The defense motion to dismiss for selective and malicious prosecution fails,” said Monroe.
Jones is facing multiple charges which include damage to property and interference with government property for the music video where rubber tire marks from spinning cars or ‘donuts’ were left on the surface of the parking lot at the Columbus Civic Center.
“I think there were two cost provided, one was just restriping, and the other was just a full resurfacing. So one was 478 dollars and for resurfacing the estimate was $389,000,” said Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge during her testimony. Others called as witnesses for Friday’s hearing included Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, Isiah Hugley, former Police Chief Ricky Boren, current Police Chief Freddie Blackmon, as well as others.
According to Jones’ attorney in the case, there is a plea deal on the table for the self proclaimed “People’s DA”, but he does not plan to take it, even though it would not impact his ability to keep his job as the District Attorney, according to Breault.
“He’s not going to take a deal on a fake case. He would be able to keep his job, and it would not impact his ability to practice law. Now that we’re getting close to the jury, all of a sudden they want to see if people will take a misdemeanor laying drag on the case,” said Breault. “The DA filed a motion for a speedy trial. So the reason this is coming to a head is because of what he is demanding in the case. Otherwise this would be laying around the legal system for years. And it does effect the administration of justice here. If you’re an indicted DA, it’s very difficult to get good lawyers to come work in the office. It’s very difficult to retain good people.”
Also in court Friday, three of the four co-defendants on the case agreed to plea deals and will have to serve 12 months probation and pay a fee. The trial for the District Attorney is set for the 13th of this month.
“I think they want to get on with their lives. I think they’re tired of this putting everything in their lives on hold. That’s basically what they told the court.”, said Breault. “They spent days in jail, and essentially they’ve been in limbo since the government did this to them. In terms of bullying, I believe that’s obviously what has occurred here.”
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