Federal judge to rule on admissibility of statements in Fort Gordon bid-rigging conspiracy

The defense and prosecution have squared off on the admissibility of statements given by defendants accused of taking part in a $20 million bid-rigging conspiracy at Fort Gordon, and a judge will decide which side prevails.

 

The attorneys for Col. Anthony Roper, 55, and his wife, Audra Roper, 49, filed motions asking the judge to prevent prosecutors from using their statements to law enforcement investigators. The Ropers have pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiracy.

The Ropers were questioned on Dec. 15, 2015, by agents with the Department of Defense and U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division. Their defense attorneys contend the statements were not lawfully voluntary because the agents offered promises or inducements to talk. The federal prosecutors disagreed and included, under seal, the recorded statements on Friday.

The Ropers and Dwayne O. Fulton, 58, were indicted in July. Col. Roper was responsible for overseeing the building and modernization of the Army’s information and communications network at Fort Gordon. Fulton worked for the large defense contractor, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions.

According to a prior report in The Augusta Chronicle, Fulton conspired with retired Col. Calvin Lawyer, 59, to bribe Roper to obtain contracts. Lawyer allegedly paid Roper $199,278 in bribes from 2008 to December 2016.

Lawyer was charged with conspiracy separately.

Before retiring in 2008, Lawyer set up the company Communications Research Engineering and Consultant Group. According to an earlier report, Lawyer obtained his first government contract through Roper in 2008 when he didn’t have an officer nor any employees.

Lawyer and Fulton pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy. They and the Ropers are free on bond.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com

 

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