HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX..
THE ATTORNEY FOR WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCILMAN JOHN WILLIAMS SAYS HE'S CONFIDENT HIS CLIENT WILL BEAT FEDERAL EXTORTION CHARGES.
A FEDERAL GRAND JURY LAST WEEK INDICTED WILLIAMS ON THREE COUNTS...
AND THIS AFTERNOON ...WILLIAMS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO ALL THREE.
LORRA LYNCH JONES IS JOINING US NOW WITH MORE ON THIS STORY.
AFTER THAT HEARING...
WE TRIED TO SPEAK TO WILLIAMS AS HE AND HIS WIFE LEFT THE FEDERAL COURTHOUSE IN DOWNTOWN MACON.
HE DIDN'T WANT TO TALK.
THE FEDERAL INDICTMENT SAYS IT ALL CAME ABOUT.... DURING THE PURCHASE OF TRUCK BY THE CITY... FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.
THE COURT DOCUMENT SAYS WILLIAMS EXTORTED A 17 HUNDRED 20 DOLLAR COMMISSION ON THAT CAR SALE.
THAT'S THE FIRST CHARGE AGAINST HIM...IT'S CALLED EXTORTION UNDER COLOR OF OFFICIAL RIGHT.
THEN... HE ALLEGEDLY LIED TO F-B-I AGENTS INVESTIGATING THE SALE. THAT'S THE SECOND COUNT.... CALLED FALSE STATEMENTS TO A FEDERAL AGENCY.
FINALLY...WILLIAMS ALLEGEDLY TRIED TO CONVINCE ANOTHER PERSON NOT TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH AUTHORITIES.
THAT COUNT IS "TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS".
AFTER TODAY'S HEARING...WILLIAMS WAS RELEASED ON A 10-THOUSAND DOLLARS UNSECURED BOND.
WILLIAMS FACES UP TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON ON COUNTS ONE AND THREE...AND FIVE YEARS ON THE SECOND COUNT....AND A POSSIBLE QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLAR FINE ON ALL THREE.
HIS LAWYER...CHARLES COX...SAYS HE AND WILLIAMS BOTH BELIEVE HE'LL BE FOUND INNOCENT.
"He has entered a not guilty plea and he believes at the end of this process he will still be not guilty"
WILLIAMS STILL FACES CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR ALLEGEDLY LYING TO WARNER ROBINS POLICE...ABOUT A STOLEN CITY CELL PHONE LAST YEAR.
THE LAURENS COUNTY D-A'S OFFICE SAYS HIS JURY TRIAL...ON A CHARGE OF MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO POLICE...IS SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 7TH.
THAT'S THE DAY BEFORE ELECTION DAY.
WILLIAMS FACES TWO CHALLENGERS IN THIS YEAR'S ELECTION.
THIS IS NOT WILLIAMS FIRST TIME FACING LEGAL TROUBLES.
HE'S STAYED IN THE HEADLINES FOR BOTH HIS ACTIONS ON COUNCIL... AND ACCUSATIONS OF BAD BEHAVIOR.
RECORDS SHOW EIGHT POLICE REPORTS FILED AGAINST HIM SINCE 2008.
HE'S BEEN ARRESTED AND INDICTED TWICE... INCLUDING TODAY.
HERE'S A LOOK BACK AT THE INTERVIEW I DID WITH HIM IN LATE SEPTEMBER.
72-YEAR OLD JOHN WILLIAMS AND HIS WIFE OF 52-YEARS... ELNA... WANT VOTERS TO LOOK BEYOND THE CONTROVERSY.
John Williams: (:53) "What we need is concentrate on the future."
WILLIAMS ACKNOWLEDGES MOVING AHEAD... MAY REQUIRE LOOKING BACK AT HIS RECENT PAST.
THE FIRST REPORT FILED AGAINST HIM WAS IN JULY 2008. HE WAS ACCUSED OF SHOOTING A TURTLE AT THE CITY'S WATER TREATMENT PLANT... AND DENIED THE ALLEGATION. NO CHARGES RESULTED.
A YEAR LATER... WILLIAMS ALLEGEDLY ARGUED WITH RELATIVES ABOUT A WILL. THEY ACCUSED HIM OF THREATENING THEM WITH A SHOTGUN. POLICE DIDN'T PRESS CHARGES... SAYING THEY LACKED EVIDENCE.
WILLIAMS WOUDN'T TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE... BECAUSE A CIVIL CASE OVER THE WILL IS PENDING IN HOUSTON SUPERIOR COURT.
THE NEXT ISSUE CAME-UP IN JUNE OF LAST YEAR. NEAL ERWIN.. WHO IS NOW RUNNING AGAINST WILLIAMS IN THIS ELECTION... ACCUSED OF HIM OF COMING TO HIS HOUSE....AND LEAVING INTIMIDATING MESSAGES... AFTER ERWIN SENT A CRITICAL E-MAIL. NO CHARGES WERE FILED.
John Williams: (12:43) "If there was anything wrong, believe me, they would find it."
ABOUT A WEEK LATER.. POLICE RESPONDED TO A WARNER ROBINS WAFFLE HOUSE WHERE WILLIAMS ALLEGEDLY ACCUSED A WOMAN OF TAKING HIS CITY CELL PHONE. HE SAYS HE DIDN'T... BUT HE WAS INDICTED FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO POLICE. THE FELONY CASE HAS YET TO GO TO TRIAL.
A STATE PANEL THAT REVIEWED THE CASE LAST SPRING... SAID IT HAS NO IMPACT ON HIS OFFICE.
John Williams: (14:00) "I say you have to look at the whole picture and evaluate it and you take it for what it is. It has nothing to do with my performance."
TWO OF THE EIGHT REPORTS WERE FILED BY TENANTSIN WILLIAMS' RENTAL PROPERTIES. ONE IN SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR... CLAIMED WILLIAMS THREATENED HIM WITH A KNIFE. THIS SUMMER... A FEMALE TENANT... ACCUSED HIM OF INNAPPROPIATE TOUCHING AND SEXUAL COMMENTS. DOCUMENTS SHOW POLICE CONDUCTED A LENGHTY INVESTIGATION OF THAT CASE... BUT SAY THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE TO CHARGE WILLIAMS.
HE SAYS BOTH TENANTS OWED HIM MONTHS OF RENT... AND FILED FALSE REPORTS TO EMBARRASS HIM.
John Williams: (11:35) "Look who I am. They think they can embarrass me and get away with stuff because I'm an elected official."
IN MAY... ANOTHER CITY LEADER ACCUSED WILLIAMS OF THROWING FOOD ON HIM...IN THE SAME WAFFLE HOUSE... AND IN AUGUST... A FAMILY ACCUSED WILLIAMS OF SWINGING A BAT AT SOME CHILDREN AND HITTING A TRUCK. AGAIN...NO CHARGES IN EITHER CASE.
Lorra: "Did you threaten anybody with a bat? John Williams: "No ma'am."
HE SAID HE TOOK THE ALUMINUM BAT AWAY FROM ANOTHER PERSON WHO WAS SWINGING IT.
IN ALL THE CASES... WILLIAMS SAYS POLICE INVESTIGATED THOROUGHLY...
John Williams: (12:15) "They have been more thorough on me, because of who I am. To be honest, I can't breath because if they arn't thorough in thier investigation of me, it looks improper."
WILLIAMS SAYS THE REPORTS GIVE PEOPLE THE WRONG IMPRESSION... SO THEY SHOULD FOCUS ON HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS LIKE HELPING TO KEEP TAXES LOW... BUILDING AN ANIMAL SHELTER AND PUSHING THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER PROJECT FORWARD.
HE SAYS IF RE-ELECTED... HE DOESN'T PLAN FOR THE PATTERN TO CONTINUE.
John Williams: (15:00) "I would certainly hope not, but who know about the future. There wont' be anything on my part, never has been. When people lodge things against you, all you can do is defend yourself. You can't prevent it."
>> AGAIN... THERE IS NOW A DATE SET FOR WILLIAMS JURY TRIAL ON THE INDICTMENT FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO CITY POLICE.
THAT WILL BE NOVEMBER 7TH.
FRANK? LEAH? THANKS LORRA.
NO TRIAL DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR THE TODAY'S FEDERAL INDICTMENT.
FROM PUTTING SIDEWALKS ON NEW CLINTON ROAD IN JONES COUNTY TO IMPROVING THE INTERSECTION AT INTERSTATES 75 AND 16 IN BIBB...
A PROPOSED REGIONAL SALES TAX WOULD GENERATE ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS TO UPGRADE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS IN ELEVEN CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES.
RANDALL SAVAGE DISCUSSED THE TRANSPORATION TAX WITH BIBB COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART.
<<BIBB COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART SAYS VOTERS IN ELEVEN CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES WILL DECIDE BY A MAJORITY VOTE WHETHER THEY WANT TO IMPLEMENT A ONE-CENT REGIONAL OPTIONAL TRANSPORATION SALES TAX.
13:35:01 Sam Hart, Bibb Commission Chairman: Those 11 counties would vote and if it passes in the region, every county in that region would be involved. They would have to implement the one-cent sales tax.
AND HART SAYS IMPROVEMENTS WOULD BE REGIONAL.
18:18:18 Sam Hart, Bibb Commission Chairman: These would be projects we think like I-16, 75, those are regional projects. The Bass Road connector are regional projects, things in our area that would impact beyond Macon.
HART SAYS TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE REGIONAL TAX MONEY GOES BACK TO THE COUNTIES..
16:06:03 Sam Hart, Bibb Commission Chairman: Even though we're putting a lot of toward regional projects, a significant amount comes back to the counties to use as they see fit.
THE CHAIRMAN SAYS THE TAX WOULD BENEFIT THE ENTIRE REGION.
14:43:13 Sam Hart, Bibb Commission Chairman: So these things are regional projects and I think if we are able to put these things in place, they would have a tremendous impact, economic impact on the community, on the region as we try to develop things.
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> INCLUDED IN THE CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES ARE HOUSTON.. BIBB.. JONES.. CRAWFORD.. TWIGGS.. BALDWIN.. AND WILKINSON COUNTIES.
MORE REACTION TODAY TO THE ALLEGED BEATING OF A VISITING HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH...IN HANCOCK COUNTY.
THE HEAD OF THE GROUP THAT OVERSEES PUBLIC SCHOOL ATHLETICS IN THE STATE CALLED THE ASSAULT ...QUOTE...SICKENING.
MEANWHILE HANCOCK COUNTY'S SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT DECLINED TO TALK ABOUT THE BRAWL OR EVEN SAY WHETHER SHE WAS AT THE GAME..
JENNIFER MOUILLET HAS MORE..
Ralph Swearingen: " It's sickening, in here we get upset when we have two kids fight on the field during the game or have an unsportsmanlike conduct calll."
GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR... RALPH SWEARINGEN SAYS FRIDAY'S POST GAME FIGHT BETWEEN HANCOCK CENTRAL AND WARREN COUNTY SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED.
Ralph Swearingen: " the post game handshakes all occured and there was no indication that there was going to be a problem."
HE SAYS GHSA HAS POLICIES IN PLACE TO PROTECT ATHLETES COACHES AND SPORTS OFFICIALS BUT IT'S UP TO THE SCHOOL TO DETERMINE HOW MANY POLICE OFFICERS ARE AT THE GAME. HANCOCK COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT... GWENDOLYN REEVES SAYS THEY TOOK MEASURES TO PROTECT THE PLAYERS.
Gwendolyn Jefferson Reeves: "We provide a safe and secure environment we do not know all of the facts about this episodic demeaning matter between the players occured."
SWEARINGEN SAYS IF THE FIGHT HAPPENED DURING THE GAME... EVERYONE INVOLVED WOULD BE EJECTED... AND THE GAME WOULD BE CALLED. HE SAYS THE G-H-S-A WILL INVESTIGATE.
Ralph Swearingen: " What incited it what precautions were in place should have stopped it from getting out of hand I mean there are a whole host of things that we will look at in a little bit different fashion than we would have if it had occured in the middle of the game."
BECAUSE THE FIGHT HAPPENED OFF THE FIELD.... SWEARINGEN SAYS THE GHSA'S INVESTIGATION WILL BE SECONDARY.
Ralph Swearingen: "The GHSA has to back off and let the law enforcement do its job and then we determine what kind of things we're going to do with our schools involved."
HANCOCK COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT... GWENDOLYN REEVES SAYS SHE'S DISAPPOINTED IN THE UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT.
Gwendolyn Jefferson Reeves:"We harbor no negative emotions of anger, hostility or vengeance when team members arrive on our campus they become a part of our extended family."
REEVES SAYS HANCOCK CENTRAL HIGH IS A FAMILY OF INTEGRITY AND COMPASSION.
JENNIFER MOULLIET 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> REEVES WOULD NOT ANSWER ANY OF OUR QUESTIONS..
SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T WANT TO INTERFERE WITH THE INVESTIGATION BY THE HANCOCK SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
WE SPOKE WITH INVESTIGATOR RICKY BROWN AT THE HANCOCK SHERIFF'S OFFICE..HE SAID HE'S NOT SURE IF ANY INVESTIGATION WILL TAKE PLACE..
HANCOCK SHERIFF TOMLYN PRIMUS DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS..
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD HANCOCK COUNTY'S FOOTBALL TEAM BE ALLOWED TO FINISH ITS SEASON?
SO FAR 88 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
AND 12 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
STUDENTS AT GEORGIA COLLEGE WORKED TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT BREAST CANCER.. IN AN EYE CATCHING WAY...
DECORATED BRAS HUNG FROM CLOTHESLINES IN THE CENTER OF CAMPUS...
33 GROUPS DRESSED UP THE BRAS...
TODAY AND THURSDAY... ORGANIZERS SAYS THEY'RE ASKING STUDENTS AND FACULTY TO PAY A BUCK TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS FOR THE BEST LOOKING ONE...
STUDENTS INVOLVED SAY THEY HOPE THE UNCONVENTIONAL FUNDRAISER HELPS GET PEOPLE'S ATTENTION ON CAMPUS...
Sara Hernandez: People come around and they're like wait is that a bra i see hanging up and not only is it a bra it's a decorated bra and 33 of them. So, it definitely grabs peoples attention when they walk by. so they come and ask about it and we just tell them it's mostly here to raise awareness for breast cancer."
MOST OF THE MONEY RAISED GOES TOWARDS THE "SURVIVORS IN PINK BANQUET".... WHICH WILL BE HELD ON OCTOBER 27th... IT HONORS BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS...
IT'S ALMOST TIME FOR TRICK OR TREATING... AND IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR COMMUNITY TRICK OR TREAT TIMES... LET OUR WHERE YOU LIVE SITES HELP YOU OUT.
IN WARNER ROBINS... TRICK-OR-TREATING WILL BE ON MONDAY... OCTOBER 31ST... FROM SIX TO EIGHT P-M... ACCORDING TO THE WARNER ROBINS POLICE DEPARTMENT.
TO CHECK OUT MORE TRICK OR TREAT TIMES... VISIT THE "WHERE YOU LIVE" PAGES AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.