Browning said he will work with a team of lawyers on the case to represent Coleman, although they have not yet been selected.
Browning said he had no comment on the case. Coleman did not return calls for comment.
Coleman was indicted by a Cobb Grand Jury on Thursday on one charge of violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act and three charges of making a false statement.
When Coleman is booked into jail, said Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office, his bond will be set by the prosecutor at $100,000. Isaza said the prosecutor sets the bond for someone when they are indicted before being arrested.
In this case, Isaza said, the indictment also serves as the arrest warrant.
“Once (Coleman is) in custody, then the case will be put on the judge’s calendar,” Isaza said.
Cobb Superior Court Judge LaTain Kell is assigned to hear the trial, which will be before a jury, unless Coleman declines his right to have a jury present, Isaza said.
According to the indictment, Coleman is accused of falsely stating a woman he had an “ongoing relationship” with had performed required hours of community service.
The indictment, which was delivered before Cobb Superior Court Judge James Bodiford on Thursday, says Terry Jones Mays was arrested in September 2012 on charges of driving under the influence and hit and run. She entered a plea of reckless driving and was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service. The indictment states Coleman asked the Rev. Joseph Comeaux of Marietta Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church to write three letters on her behalf saying she had performed certain community service hours, “when in fact, she had not,” according to the indictment.
Mays is also charged with one count of violating the RICO Act and three counts of false statements.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation handled the case instead of local police, and Isaza said that was “likely because of a potential conflict of interest for Marietta police and the councilman.”
Don Geary, the chief assistant district attorney, said the DA’s office chose to charge Coleman under the racketeering act because the facts fit the statute.
“This is not an organized crime as people would believe in an Al Capone sort of way. A pattern of criminal activity means a lot of things,” Geary said. “We can charge someone who actually didn’t do an act if they are part of the scheme of the actors.”
Geary said Coleman was charged with making false statements because he is accused of lying to a government agency.
“It’s a false statement in connection to an official capacity and with this case it was the probation office,” Geary said.
Geary said the charges against Coleman have sentences of prison time. Violations of the RICO act can have a five-to 20-year prison sentence, and making a false statement can have a one-to five-year prison sentence.
Geary said there is no way to estimate when the trial will come before Kell because every judge works at a different speed.
This is the second councilman of a Cobb County city to have been accused of a felony in the past two months.
Kennesaw Councilman Leonard Church, 66, was arrested June 27 on two counts of child molestation and booked in the Cobb jail. He was released the next day on a $10,000 bond.
Church has attended City Council meetings since his arrest.
Isaza said Church’s case is being processed by the DA’s office now, which means it is deciding whether to put the case in front of a grand jury. The grand jury would decide whether to go ahead with a trial to prosecute Church.
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said Coleman is innocent until proven guilty, and Coleman would be allowed to attend city meetings in the future as well.
Coleman was previously involved in a criminal case in June 2012, when he pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting former Councilwoman Annette Lewis.
Coleman received a sentence of 12 months’ probation, 80 hours of community service, a required anger and violence evaluation and a $600 fine, in addition to court costs. Coleman waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to the plea bargain his lawyers made with assistant solicitor general Annamarie Baltz.
Coleman was represented in the case by Browning.