The prosecution rests - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

The prosecution rests

June 9, 2005

Albany-- The government wrapped up its evidence on the fourth day of the Henry Mathis trial. One count of extortion may be dropped after James Hadley testified he wasn't threatened by Mathis and didn't give him any money.

The defense asked the Judge to dismiss all of the extortion counts. Defense attorney Rick Collum argued James Hadley testified Mathis didn't try to extort money from him. He said as for Dora Wilson and Joe McDonald, the indictment doesn't fit the facts.

Prosecutor Allen Dasher agreed that one extortion count should be dropped after hearing James Hadley's testimony. But, he argued the rest of the counts are valid and should stick. Ben Johnson

Dora Wilson testified it's known in East Albany that commissioner Mathis can make or break your business. She said that's why she felt trapped into giving him money. Jurors saw a list of about a dozen phone calls between the two and two canceled checks made out to Henry Mathis and his wife, signed by Wilson. Wilson said Mathis claimed some of the money was for fellow commissioner Jon Howard's campaign. But Howard testified he never got that money.

Then Wilson's ex-boyfriend and business partner James Hadley took the stand. He said Mathis asked him for a charitable contribution, but he never gave him money and never saw Wilson give Mathis money. Prosecutors played audio recordings between Mathis and GBI agents. Agents asked Mathis if he'd ever taken money from McDonald. Mathis repeatedly said no.

But Wednesday, jurors watched video in which you could clearly see Mathis taking money from McDonald. When asked why how would try to get him in trouble, Mathis mention having a lot of political enemies including Ben Johnson. Johnson was sitting in on the trial today.

After the prosecution rested, the defense began its questioning with former Commissioner David Williams, who first told the former police chief about the alleged extortion of Joe McDonald. Rick Collum tried to prove Williams was angry with Mathis for supporting his opponent, Tommy Postell, and wanted to bust Mathis.

Henry Mathis must decide Friday morning if he'll testify. The Defense expects to finish questioning in the morning, so the jury could start deliberating the case by Friday afternoon.

Judge Louis Sands said he'll make a decision concerning the defense's request to throw out the three extortion counts in the morning.

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