Smiling surrender: Councilman turns himself in, released on $1K bond
by Hilary Butschek
August 19, 2014 04:00 AM | 3551 views | 4 4 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Councilman Anthony Coleman, left, and his attorney, Tom Browning, arrive at the county jail on Monday for Coleman to turn himself in on charges of violating the Georgia Racketeering Act and three counts of making false statements to the Cobb County Probation Office.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Marietta City Councilman Anthony Coleman, left, and his attorney, Tom Browning, arrive at the county jail on Monday for Coleman to turn himself in on charges of violating the Georgia Racketeering Act and three counts of making false statements to the Cobb County Probation Office.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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City Councilman Anthony Coleman said he was feeling “great” as he walked into the Cobb County jail on Monday to turn himself in on one charge of violating the Georgia Racketeering Act and three charges of making false statements.

Wearing a suit and smiling as he climbed the steps to the jail, Coleman said, “I woke up today, and that’s a blessing.”

About one-and-a-half hours after he entered the jail, Coleman was released on $1,000 bond, said Nancy Bodiford, spokeswoman for Sheriff Neil Warren.

Coleman’s attorney, Tom Browning, said he talked to Chief Assistant District Attorney John Melvin, the lead prosecutor in Coleman’s case, to reduce the bond Monday to $1,000 from the $100,000 originally set by the DA.

“We came to talk with the District Attorney’s office, and we had a nice conversation, and we came to that resolution,” Browning said.

Neither Coleman nor Browning would comment on the charges. Browning said his first priority when he agreed to represent Coleman on Friday was to lower his bond.

“When I saw that, I said, ‘Oh my gosh — a $100,000 bond.’ It might as well have a life sentence case,” Browning said.

Browning said members of Coleman’s family posted his bond.

Browning said he could not comment on the charges against Coleman because he had not yet interviewed Coleman about the allegations.

“I won’t know that until I talk to him,” Browning said. “I won’t have time to interview him until later this week.”

Coleman was indicted by a Cobb County Grand Jury on Thursday on one charge of violating the state Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act and three charges of making a false statement to the county probation office.

The charges came after Coleman was accused of falsely stating a woman he had an “ongoing relationship” with had performed the required hours of community service, according to the indictment.

The indictment, which was delivered before Cobb Superior Court Judge James Bodiford on Aug. 14, 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.”

Mays is also charged with one count of violating the RICO Act and three counts of false statements.

Browning said the indictment was a surprise to Coleman, who did not know he was being investigated.

“It would be like walking down the road and a lightning bolt strikes next to you,” Browning said. “It was kind of a shock to him.”

Now that Coleman was booked in jail Monday, his case will be added to Cobb Superior Court Judge LaTain Kell’s calendar, said Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the DA.

The trial will be before a jury, unless Coleman declines his right to have a jury present, Isaza said.

Browning said he agreed to represent Coleman because they have a history together.

“He’s a friend of mine. I’ve helped him out before,” Browning said.

Coleman was previously involved in a criminal case in June 2012 when Browning represented him, and Coleman 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.

Now that he is out of jail, Coleman can attend City Council meetings. Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said he would have no problem with having Coleman at meetings, because he is innocent until proven guilty.

Comments
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Marion Moffitt
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August 19, 2014
Councilman Anthony Coleman is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Unless the constitution and the laws of this country have changed. Mr.Coleman has done more for his constituents, i.e., jobs, housing, etc., and has taken a personal interest in his district. Let the process work.
Ferguson...
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August 21, 2014
Should listen to the "Innocent until proven guilty" logic... Oh wait, that doesn't count toward cops!
Yep it stinks
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August 19, 2014
Here we have an elected official indicted charges stemming from a federal investigation and after a friendly talk his bail drops to nearly nothing.

Something stinks!!!!
Broussard, call Tom
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August 19, 2014
A $100,000 bond for racketeering was reduced to $1,000?

I bet that Broussard lady who is in jail without bond on racketeering charges wishes she had been Tom Browning's "friend" too.
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