Indicted commissioner speaks out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Indicted commissioner speaks out

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July 18, 2005

Leesburg- A grand jury last month indicted Jo Ealum on three misdemeanor counts of obstruction, furnishing alcohol to a minor, and maintaining a disorderly house, but the 21-year old says the charges are false, and a lie detector test proves it.

On the steps of the Lee County courthouse, Jo Ealum maintains her innocence.

"I took a lie detector test, and it clearly said in no way did I obstruct, grab, scream, cuss or in any way insult or intimidate any officers," Jo Ealum says.

In fact, Ealum says a private lie detector test shows that she is not guilty of furnishing alcohol to a minor, or maintaining a disorderly house, either.

"None of the neighbors in this case have indicated any complaint at all towards Jo, in fact, they're all complementary to her as a neighbor," says Ealum's attorney, Joseph Weathers.

The charges are all misdemeanors stemming from an incident at the 21-year-old's house on Halloween night.

"And now, eight months later, for these charges to be thrown back in my face, I was appalled," Ealum says.

Not only are Ealum and her attorney calling the charges absurd, but they say statements on reports written by several Lee County deputies are false. Now, the commissioner says, she fears for other Lee County residents.

"If they would come into my home without my permission, and after threatening to arrest me, what other cases do we not know about? What else is going on in Lee County?" Ealum asks.

With the support of her family, Jo Ealum is confident she has enough evidence, and witness statements, to prove her innocence.

All three of the charges are misdemeanors, so the indictments will not affect Ealum's ability to serve on the board.

In June, Ealum's sister Susie was also indicted for consumption of alcohol by a minor. She, too, maintains her innocence. A court date for Ealum's case has not been set.

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