Berrien Sutton fights back - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Berrien Sutton fights back

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

August 28, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - An indicted judge is asking the prosecutors be removed from the case.

Former Clinch County Juvenile Judge Berrien Sutton and his wife, Lisa, are charged with mail fraud. Berrien Sutton is also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Prosecutors say the couple took taxpayers money when they accepted government jobs that overpaid them for very little work.

Their attorney, Tom Withers, has filed a motion accusing the U.S. Attorney's office of personally profiting from recent indictments and trying to gain control of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit.  In May, Assistant US Attorney Donald Johstono sought to be appointed as the Superior Court Judge in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit after the resignation of Judge Brooks Blitch.  That position was given to Adel attorney Howard McClain.

Papers say "the application of AUSA Johstono was well known in the U.S. Attorney's Office and would have permitted the prosecutors to take control of the Alapaha judiciary." 

It goes on to say "Once AUSA Johstono decided to seek Judge Blitch's position, the latent conflict became patent and the entire office should have been disqualified from continuing with the investigation."

They also accuse prosecutors of interfering with an election in Lanier County.

Sheriff's candidate Darrell Watson was indicted one month before the election.

He lost the race by 23 votes.

They have requested the US Attorney's office be disqualified and the Department of Justice to appoint another independent prosecutor to hear the case.

They've also asked for all the charges to be dismissed.