Buie trial testimony begins - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Buie trial testimony begins

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Nicole Brown Nicole Brown
Al Lott Al Lott
Wes Smith Wes Smith

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A parade of witnesses took the stand Wednesday in the theft trial of former downtown manager Don Buie. His former girlfriend admitted Buie asked her to cash an ADICA check and give him money back from it. 

Prosecutors called it a case about abuse of trust, deceit, and the community's tax dollars. Defense attorney Johnnie Graham claims the allegations are nothing more than the action of a scorned lover.

The most sentational testimony of the day came in the last hour as former Buie girlfriend Nicole Brosensationalors she was threatened with the release of an intimate tape on a public website if she didn't recount her story.

Don Buie looked down at the desk as prosecutors asked Nicole Brown to identify him. She said their relationship started off causal, then got intimate. She worked for him for a while and was paid monthly.

"Going to different vendors, such as clothing stores, shoe stores, talking with them seeing how they liked the place they were at," said Brown.

Brown told jurors she was nervous after making a statement to Attorney Phil Cannon.

"I was terrified, I did not know what was going on I was confused, I felt like I was at a loss I had no idea what was going on at all."

Prosecutors also questioned her about a $2,200 check she was given in February. She testified Buie was anxious for her to cash it. "He said 'okay here's $400, keep $400 and give me the rest back,' and I was like 'Okay' and gave him the rest of the money back."

As different city officials took the stand the most harsh testimony came from Buie's boss Al Lott when audit reports forced him to confront Buie about employing his wife July 29th.

"I specifically asked him who was Shanon Lee and why had he written her a check. He looked at me and said obviously that's my wife. My response to him was well I'm afraid you're terminated immediately, and I also said to him that's why people hate you presently, because that is a crime," Lott said.

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith explained city policy prohibited the hiring of relatives. "In general business practices you don't conduct business outside with people who contact with the authority and you don't hire wives and cousins and brothers and sisters these are thing you don't do."

Assistant City Manager James Taylor also read part of the city's code adopted in Buie's presence.

Defense attorneys say no one questioned Buie if he read and understood the policy. Shonnie King also testified she would have to go behind the checks she wrote to get invoices from Buie, but not every vendor she wrote a check for sent an invoice.

The former ADICA Executive Director and downtown manager is facing a 20 count indictment on theft and conspiracy charges.

Testimony will resume Thursday morning. You can continue to follow the progress on WALB and walb.com.


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