The assistant district attorney pulled into a scheme to take money from Banks County pled guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of being party to a crime.
Former ADA Brett Williams was fined $500 and given 12 months probation and ordered to complete 50 hours of community service on a misdemeanor charge. The action stems from the theft case made against former Piedmont Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tim Madison.
Williams was originally arrested on felony charges of theft in connection with the case against Madison. On Tuesday, the felony charges against Williams were dismissed.
Meanwhile, a hearing with Madison’s wife, Linn Jones, on related theft charges has been rescheduled to April 18. Jones worked in the DA’s office as well and faces charges related to having falsified payroll documents. She was on both the Banks County and Jackson County payrolls.
The scheme with Madison and Williams involved having Banks County pay a full-time salary for Williams, who was already being paid a full-time salary as ADA by the state. The Banks County salary was paid to Williams, who then passed a portion of it on to Madison. Madison put the money into a personal checking account and used it for a variety of things, including purchasing a $7,000 motorcycle.
At Tuesday’s hearing, David McLaughlin of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office spoke on Williams’ role in the case.
“If Mr. Williams didn’t know a deception was being perpetuated on Banks County, he surely should have known,” he said.
Williams’ attorney, Nick Litito, said his client was not working with Madison to steal the funds.
“There was no conspiracy between Brett and Madison,” he said. “They were not buddies…Brett Williams was deceived by Mr. Madison.”
Williams is no longer working as an attorney, but Litito said he hopes his client can practice law again in the future. This will be up to the Georgia State Bar Association.
Williams also offered brief remarks Tuesday and offered an apology to Banks County, to the district attorney’s office and to his family. He said he had learned an “profound and unforgettable” lesson.”
“I am sorry for enabling this arrangement to occur by following a directive by my head boss, the district attorney,” he said. “…I will never be involved in anything like this again.”
During his sentencing, judge Robert Mallis said Williams was a victim.
“I am convinced that you were not aware of what Mr. Madison was doing when he set up this arrangement with Banks County,” the judge said. “I genuinely believe that you genuinely believed him. For a large extent, you were a victim too. However, at some point, you should have known. But I can understand being in that position.”
The theft scandal surrounding the DA’s office was uncovered by The Jackson Herald newspaper in early 2007. A series of investigative stories were published in March 2007 questioning Madison’s handling of DA funds and his role in the Williams financial transactions.