Arsenic found in body of jailed ex-Georgian president – lawyer

Nail clippings taken from jailed former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili have tested positive for arsenic, his lawyer has claimed ahead of a court hearing involving his client. The ex-leader’s supporters have maintained that he is gravely ill and has had toxic heavy metals in his body.

Shalva Khachapuridze, who represents Saakashvili, said on Monday that the results of the toxicology test of his client’s samples would be available later in the day. The presence of the poisonous element was confirmed to him in a phone call, he told journalists on Monday, according to the private television station Mtavari Arkhi.

Saakashvili sneaked into Georgia in 2021 ahead of municipal elections, despite the risk of being arrested and facing prosecution on various charges. At the time, he had already been sentenced in absentia based on some of the charges, while others were still pending. On Friday, he is set to appear before a court over the most recent alleged transgression – an illegal crossing of the national border, Khachapuridze said.

The attorney stated that his client would probably have to use a wheelchair to attend the proceedings because he can no longer walk properly.

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Uncounted Votes on Overlooked Memory Card Flips Election in Georgia

An overlooked memory card in Cobb CountyGeorgia, with uncounted ballots changed the final results of a special election, officials have said.

The county’s Board of Elections and Registration voted to recertify the results of the Nov. 8 Kennesaw City Council special election during a Nov. 18 meeting, according to a statement.

“The recertification was necessary after workers discovered a memory card had not been included in the previous results. The additional ballots resulted in a change in the Kennesaw City Council Post 1 Special Election,” the release said.

Madelyn Orochena was originally declared the winner of the special election. However, when additional ballots were located on the memory card, Lynette Burnette was shown as the winner of the race by 31 votes, officials told local media.

“Unfortunately, once found we did upload it, and it changed the outcome of the Kennesaw City Council race,” Janine Eveler, Cobb County’s director of elections, told local media outlets.

Cobb election officials said that the memory card was located in Kennesaw when workers were preparing for an audit of the election, according to 11Alive. Further details weren’t provided about why the card was overlooked or where it was located.

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New Details Emerge Regarding Georgia Mom Debbie Collier’s Activities on Day She Disappeared

Police have revealed new details about the circumstances surrounding the death of Debbie Collier, the Georgia mom who disappeared after sending her daughter a chilling text after surveillance footage revealed that she purchased several items that were found on or near her body when she was discovered.

The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (CID), the organization investigating Collier’s death, said in a press release Monday afternoon that Collier was alone when she entered the Family Dollar Store in Clayton, Georgia, on Saturday, September 10. 

Over the weekend, The CID said that it had received information claiming that Collier’s daughter, 36-year-old Amanda Bearden, had been at the store that day, but after talking to the clerk on duty and reviewing store camera footage, police determined she had not been there.

However, the footage revealed that Collier herself had entered the store at around 2:55 p.m., and exited around 3:09 p.m. While she was there, she appeared calm and “not in fear of anything,” the CID said in its press release. Authorities said she purchased a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, paper towels, a large tarp and a reusable tote back.

Collier was found in a ravine 60 miles from her Athens, Georgia, home just a day later. She had severe burns on her body and there was the remains of a burned tarp nearby.   

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Taxpayers to Be Held Liable After Black Pastor Arrested for Watering Flowers

On the day he was kidnapped and thrown in a cage, Pastor Michael Jennings had harmed no one, committed no crime and was actually being a good neighbor. He never thought that being asked to water his friend’s flower bed would lead to such a police interaction but thanks to ignorant and apparently-racial profiling cops in Alabama, that’s exactly what happened. Now, the taxpayers of Alabama will be held liable for the actions of the cops.

According to Georgia Public Broadcasting, Jennings, a longtime pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Church in Sylacauga, Ala., is being represented in his newly filed federal lawsuit by national civil rights attorney, Harry Daniels, and attorneys Bethaney Embry Jones, Joi Travis and Roderick Van Daniels. They hosted a news conference Saturday with the Alabama NAACP to discuss the case.

“I’m here for accountability, and I’m here for justice,” Jennings said.

“These poor judgment decisions reflect poorly on the type of training the Childersburg police officers receive … if they were acting in accordance within police guidelines,” Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton said in a statement to NPR.

As we reported at the time, Jennings was kidnapped by police in May — his kidnappers, two officers with the Childersburg police department. The entire interaction was captured on video.

According to police, they showed up at Jennings’ neighbor’s house that day claiming they received a call about a suspicious person. Being that Jennings has lived in the neighborhood for years and is long time friends of his neighbors, he is hardly suspicious yet police would use this claim to violate his rights.

As the video shows, Jennings is literally watering his neighbor’s flowers when police show up because this is exactly what his neighbors had asked. When the unidentified officer asks the pastor what he is doing, Jennings told him that he had just gotten back from conducting church and he stopped at his neighbor’s home to water their flowers because they had asked him to do so.

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Former Atlanta official gets 14 years in corruption case

A pastor, political operative and former high-ranking Atlanta city official was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison after a jury found her guilty of charges stemming from a long-running federal investigation into corruption at City Hall.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones told Mitzi Bickers that the evidence showed that she was involved in “a deliberate, calculated plan to cheat” the taxpayers of Atlanta over a number of years. In addition to the prison time, he ordered Bickers to pay nearly $3 million in restitution to the city and to serve three years of supervised release once she’s out.

Bickers, 56, was the first person to go to trial in the investigation into corruption during the administration of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. She helped Reed win election and then worked as his director of human services for several years. Prosecutors said she used her influence to funnel roughly $17 million in business to city contractors Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr. and Charles P. Richards Jr. in exchange for more than $2.9 million in bribes for herself and others.

A jury in March found Bickers guilty on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery.

Prosecutors had asked Jones to sentence Bickers to serve 17 and a half years in prison. Her lawyers asked for a much lower sentence, pointing to the five years that Mitchell got and the two years Richards got.

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Oh, So Here’s the ‘White Supremacist’ Accused of Vandalizing a Gay Pride Crosswalk With Swastikas

A black male suspect has been identified as the repeat vandalism suspect accused of defacing the Rainbow Crosswalk in Atlanta, Georgia, last month with swastikas after leftists online blamed white supremacy for the spray paint across the LGBTQ street art, a cultural landmark known as the city’s emblem of gay pride.

30-year-old Jonah Jade Sampson is charged with criminal trespass, felony interference with government property, and three counts of second-degree criminal damage to property for allegedly vandalizing the rainbow stripes painted at the intersection of 10th St and Piedmont Ave in mid-town Atlanta on two separate occasions.

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Good Samaritans Fined, Threatened with Arrest for Pulling Government Litter Out of a River

In a world where rational and logical thought prevail, one would think that fishermen pulling a trove of dangerous military waste from a river would be considered a good deed that should be rewarded. Unfortunately, however, logic and reason have seemingly gone extinct in today’s America and instead of being rewarded, three fishermen in Georgia have been slapped with heavy fines and are facing potential jail time.

The group of fishermen, led by Bryce Nachtwey are not your everyday run-of-the-mill fishermen. In fact, they aren’t after fish at all. Instead, Nachtwey and his crew use magnets to look for treasure at the bottom of waterways all over Georgia.

Last month, Nachtwey and his group dredged up a shocking find — a Delta Airlines duffel bag, chock full with 86 rockets, a tank tracer round, and .50 caliber ammo belts. All of this ammunition was live and all of it had been dumped or lost in the river by the US Army.

Naturally, finding tank rounds and explosives is not like finding treasure and quite dangerous, so after pulling up their “catch,” Nachtwey called the bomb squad on Fort Stewart, trying to do the right thing.

A Fort Stewart Military Police officer who was summoned out to the bridge off which Nachtwey was fishing, explained to the group that he had never seen something like this, and needed to check in with his command to see what next steps to take. Before his command could respond, however, a game warden with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources showed up to extort the group for their legal activity.

The warden told the group that it was illegal for them to be fishing off the bridge, which surprised the group since they were experienced in the area and had never been told this before.

“I didn’t see any signs,” said one of Nachtwey’s crew. But this didn’t matter, the warden was hellbent on extorting these young men, even if their good deed saved the lives of swimming children down the road.

“You’re all gettin’ tickets, you can come to court and talk to a judge, okay?” the warden said. “The reason magnet fishing is not allowed is because of exactly what y’all got right there. You don’t know what’s going to blow up and not blow up.”

If they refused the tickets or argued any longer, the group of fishermen could choose jail. Obviously, they chose the former but did explain that they had jumped through all the right hoops and red tape to be there that day.

Nachtwey explained that he and his group had not only called the DNR well in advance, but that they were within a “green zone” — meaning they knew magnet fishing was explicitly permitted in this area of the river.

This didn’t matter to the warden, however, who claimed his authority let him ticket anyone, any time, no matter what zone they are in.

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Metro Atlanta Mayor Sentenced for Stealing $650K in COVID Relief Funds

Stonecrest, Ga. is one of metro Atlanta’s newest cities. Sitting just east of Atlanta in DeKalb County, voters agreed to charter the new city in 2016. It’s home to a popular 2,500 nature preserve and a mall, from which the city took its name.

One of the men who spearheaded the efforts to create the city of Stonecrest and who served as the city’s first mayor is going to prison for 57 months. A court sentenced Jason Lary on Wednesday for stealing $650,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.

WSB Radio reports that Lary used COVID relief money to pay off his personal debts, and he gave grants to churches and small businesses with the stipulation that they would give some of the funds back to companies connected to him. For example, he gave his church $150,000 and asked the church to give $50,000 of it to one of his companies.

“Lary betrayed the trust placed in him by the citizens of Stonecrest by stealing the very funds meant to help his constituents weather the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said. “The people of Stonecrest deserved better, and corrupt officials can expect severe consequences for using their offices to commit crimes.”

As a grand jury and local television outlet Fox 5 began to investigate what was happening in Stonecrest, Lary denied any wrongdoing.

“Quite frankly folks, now it’s turned ugly,” he told reporters in April 2021. “There was never an interest on anybody’s part to kick back or filter money back or any of that nonsense.”

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‘Beyond troubling’: Current, former government officials tied to human trafficking probe in Georgia

Two Georgia labor officials whose jobs involved protecting or advocating for farmworkers have links to one of the largest U.S. human trafficking cases ever prosecuted involving foreign agricultural laborers brought here on seasonal visas.

One individual indicted in the case, Brett Donovan Bussey, left government service in 2018. The other, Jorge Gomez, remains on the job and hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, but officers searched his home in connection with the case and his sister and nephew are among those indicted.

In October, a grand jury indicted Bussey and 23 others for conspiring to engage in forced labor and other related crimes. Federal prosecutors say the defendants required guest farmworkers to pay illegal fees to obtain jobs, withheld their IDs so they could not leave, made them work for little or no pay, housed them in unsanitary conditions and threatened them with deportation and violence.

Two workers died in the heat, according to the indictment. Court records say five workers were kidnapped and one of them was raped.

All defendants who have entered pleas so far have pleaded not guilty in the case, named “Operation Blooming Onion.” Some of the workers harvested onions, the state’s official vegetable.

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‘I’m The Return of Christ’: Alleged Polygamist Cult Leader Hit With Charges in Georgia

The leader of an alleged polygamist cult who often refers to himself as “3God” and “Nature Boy” is facing several charges this week, including false imprisonment and rape.

Eligio Bishop, the 40-year-old leader of the group Carbon Nation, was arrested this week on five charges on April 14—including rape, false imprisonment, and sending sexually explicit electronic transmissions without consent, the Dekalb County Police Department said. The arrest comes after a Wednesday night raid at his Georgia home, which included dozens of officers and a tactical team, according to WSB-TV.

He is currently being held at DeKalb County jail after Magistrate Judge Abbi Taylor denied his bail during a Friday court appearance, the severity of his alleged crimes. While authorities have not provided details into what led to the charges, police did confirm a “special victims unit investigation” into Bishop has been ongoing since March 30 after they received a complaint against him. The Wednesday raid, police said, included search and arrest warrants.

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