DAY 3: Judge holds former lawyer of suspended Columbus DA in contempt of court
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A shocking twist of events unfolded in suspended Columbus District Attorney Mark Jones’ trial. Jones’ former attorney Chris Breault has been taken into custody after the judge holds him in contempt of court.
This was part of the second day of testimony in the case where Jones is facing a 9 count indictment which include charges of bribery and violation of oath of office. If convicted, Jones could face 30 years in jail.
It was a busy day in court, with key witnesses taking the stand in the trial. We heard testimony from Corporal Sherman Hayes, acting District Attorney Sheneka Terry, attorney Chris Breault, Andrew Lloyd, and investigator Jeffrey Carter with the District Attorney’s office.
Corporal Hayes, the officer seen in body camera footage with Jones outside The Hooch, kicked off day 3 of the court proceedings. Hayes was also the lead detective in the murder case involving Sara Holtrop, a case Jones casually speaks about in the body cam footage.
Then, a shift occurred in the courtroom involving the Judge and Jones’ former lawyer Chris Breault. Jurors were asked to leave the courtroom multiple times due to Breault’s refusal to listen to the judge’s orders.
“I have instructed him both inside and outside your presence - as a member of the bar, he is well aware of what the rules are and he continues to disregard them,” said Judge Katherine Lumsden.
Judge Katherine Lumsden then made the decision to charge Breault with contempt of court after sternly warning Breault to stop contradicting her while he was on the witness stand.
When court was over, she brought him back into the courtroom and that’s when she went over why he was being charged with contempt of court. One of the main reasons she pointed out was Breault mentioning DA Mark Jones’ previous Civic Center case that ended in a mistrial and was dismissed. Breault denied mentioning the so-called “donut case” but the judge says she believes Breault was trying to cause a mistrial.
Judge Lumsden told Attorney Chris Breault, a state’s witness that he was one of the most argumentative witnesses she had ever seen. She added “if you contradict me one more time, I will take you out of here in handcuffs and deal with you first thing in the morning.
Attorney Chris Breault can be seen giving his personal belongings to someone before deputies escorted him out of the courtroom. He was not handcuffed while in court.
Before that, after Breault testified, Judge Lumsden ordered Breault held in the witnesses room after he finished testifying.
Breault addressed the court in a statement denying the judges allegations against him today.
“My understanding is typically is that witnesses ask a question, they give their answer and they’re allowed the chance to explain it and so my responses to him, were doing that. And that’s what I was doing. I was not trying to offend the court or act in an unlawful manner or anything like that,” said Breault.
The judge says Breault mentioning the donut case was in in direct violation of a written order she sent him beforehand saying mentioning that case was inadmissible in court.
The judge originally ordered Breault to be held for 48 hours. He was granted a $5,000 bond. He is not allowed in the courtroom or in the government center unless he has a specific case he’s working on during the trial.
“I need to get this case to the jury without a mistrial,” said Judge Lumsden.
Chris Breault has since bonded out, according to the Muscogee County Jail.
Day 4 of the trial for suspended DA Mark Jones is set to resume Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
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