Judge Peterson takes the stand in extortion trial - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Judge Peterson takes the stand in extortion trial

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

July 10, 2008

Valdosta - A south Georgia judge took the stand Thursday in her federal extortion and perjury trial.

Clinch County Associate Magistrate Judge Linda Peterson spent most of the day testifying in a courtroom in Valdosta.

Defense attorneys depicted her as a dutiful judge who often joked with co-workers.

They say she was just doing her job when she got property manager Ted Smith to pay Brooks Blitch IV $4,000 for destroying farm equipment that belonged to Blitch.

Prosecutors say she threatened to throw Smith in jail if he didn't pay.

The Defense also says Peterson was joking when she suggested to an FBI informant that her father act as his bondsman, even though he's not licensed to do so.

Prosecutors say Peterson wanted the money for home renovations and they say she got money for Blitch IV so his dad, Judge Brooks Blitch, would give her a promotion.

Jury deliberations may begin Friday.