Jury to be charged in Buie case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Jury to be charged in Buie case

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Former ADICA Executive Director and downtown manager Don Buie's criminal case will soon be in the hands of the jury.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday morning. After calling just three witnesses, the defense rested before lunch. Buie did not take the stand to testify. 

Monday afternoon, jurors heard closing statements. It was just before 5:00 PM that Judge Denise Marshall sent jurors home for the day, only to come back Tuesday morning and be charged with their case and begin their deliberations. It will them be up to them to decide is Don Buie is guilty of 19 counts of theft and conspiracy to defraud the public.

After three days of testimony for the prosecution, the defense finally laid out their case, but it would not include testimony from Don Buie.

"That is your election not to testify in this proceeding," questioned Judge Denise Marshall.

"Yes," answered Don Buie.

The defense only called three witnesses, radio personality Michael Hill, the GBI Special Agent in charge of the investigation, and ADICA Board Member Andrew Reed.

In closing arguments, District Attorney Chris Cohilas told the jury the case is simple.

"It is whether or not we're going to as a community demand from our public officials, honesty," said Cohilas.

Defense Attorney Johnnie Graham urged jurors not to believe the testimony of Nicole Brown who changed her story about giving Buie money from a check and had a motive along with Buie's wife Shanon Lee who benefited from checks.

"They made a deal with Nicole Brown who stole government fund. They made a deal with Shannon Lee who spent government funds. They made a deal with Tim Washington who said he was going to get the benefit of government funds," said Defense Attorney Johnnie Graham.

Prosecutors argued it wasn't a coincidence the day Nicole Brown got a $2,225 check she claims to have shared with Buie, he made an overdue payment.

"The check was directed in the same day, picked up, cashed, then it was moved out in 75 minutes," said Cohilas.

The defense claims the back door deal with Dollar Square owner Tim Washington was never finalized.

"You didn't have a signed lease that was executed by anybody. The only person who's name was on that lease, and you'll have it out with you is Tim Washington," said Graham.

In the end, Assistant District Attorney Chris Cohilas said no one moves into a building for six months while they're still negotiating.

Charging the jury Tuesday morning can take up to an hour as the judge reads each of the 19 charges against Don Buie and gives them instructions on each.

Earlier in the day Monday, Assistant District Attorney Chris Cohilas dropped the first count in Buie's indictment which charged him with false statements and writings for potentially lying on his job application.

©2009 WALB News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  Feedback

Powered by Frankly