Prosecution prepares to rest, Buie's defense gears up -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Prosecution prepares to rest, Buie's defense gears up

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The theft trial of former downtown manager Don Buie ended at lunchtime Friday and will resume Monday morning when the state will rest its case. Friday morning, jurors heard from the bank employees who cashed 11 checks Buie wrote to his wife Shanon and girlfriend Nicole Brown.

They testified the checks were often cashed the same day they were written. Dollar Square owner Tim Washington testified about his deal with Buie that only required him to pay a dollar a month to lease his downtown store building, even though the lease showed that he paid $700.00 a month.

"Just in case the public wanted to see what I was paying that this is what they'll see this 700 dollars a month, but I would actually be paying 24 dollars for 24 months," said Tim Washington.

As the state wrapped up it's case, they painted a picture of a financially desperate Don Buie.

Prosecutors called a MoneyGram representative and a Water, Gas, and Light investigator to the stand to show jurors just how desperate Don Buie's financial situation was.  Day three of testimony in the theft trial ended early as the defense prepares to rest its case.

The third person charged in the original indictment against Don Buie, Dollar Square owner Tim Washington also took the stand today to tell jurors about the backdoor deal he worked out with the former manager. He told jurors he felt Buie was authorized to make the deal that would show the public one price for his lease while he was paying much less.

Former ADICA Executive Director and Downtown Manager Don Buie showed little reaction in court as Dollar Square owner Tim Washington took the stand and explained a back room deal Buie cooked up to lure his business downtown.

"I told the ADICA Board that I was offered a 24 month, at a dollar a month, and I also told them that the $700 dollar month lease, um the 24 month was a codicil to the lease and this is what I was told to pay and I was also told the $700.00 would be shown to the public," said Tim Washington, Dollar Square Owner.

Defense Attorney Johnnie Graham questioned Washington whether anyone actually signed off on the agreement or whether it was still under negotiation.

"Is this document signed by anyone other than you," questioned Johnnie Graham.

"No ma'am," said Washington.

"Is it dated," questioned Graham?

"No ma'am," Washington testified.

"And your signature is not even notarized," Graham asked again.

"No ma'am," Washington replied.

Regions Bank Manager Shaleen Albin testified about 11 checks cashed at Regions branches by Buie's wife and Nicole Brown, most cashed the same day they were written.

"The date on the check is 9/3/2008, which was a Wednesday. It was actually posted to the account Thursday which was the next day," said Albin.

Nicole Brown previously testified she'd given the lions share of a $2,200 dollar check written to her back to Buie then the two went to Walmart where Buie sent a MoneyGram, Friday a representative for the company explained a $2,240 payment was made that day from Walmart to Volkswagen.

"This payment was sent to Volkswagen Credit Audi Financial," said Juson Ballentine, MoneyGram International.

Late Thursday Buie's wife told jurors he'd been stressed byJudson men looking for the car. Water, Gas, and Light's Investigator told jurors, Buie's bill was delinquent and cut off seven of the nine months between September of '08 and May of 2009.

District Attorney Chris Cohilas said there are thousands of documents in this case and this morning he asked the judge to give him until Monday to make sure he'd entered everything he needed into the record for jurors to consider.

Judge Denise Marshall gave the jury strict instructions not to watch any media reports this weekend or to read any media that may discuss the case. The District Attorney's office is expected to rest their case on Monday.

Defense Attorney Johnnie Graham has planned for witnesses to begin testifying Monday. She initially said Don Buie would testify, but he isn't required to.

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