Grovetown councilman's federal bribery trial begins

Monday, April 1, 2013 5:04 PM
Last updated Tuesday, April 2, 2013 11:49 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

The trial for a Grovetown city councilman facing federal bribery charges began Monday in Alabama.

Opening statements and the beginning of testimony began in Leland J. “Sonny” McDowell’s trial, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Clark Morris, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle Alabama District.

McDowell, who pleaded not guilty to the charges June 15, is accused of offering a kickback to a former Alabama Department of Public Safety employee in 2007. He and James E. Potts, of Montgomery, Ala., face a four-count indictment alleging bribery related to a program receiving federal funds.

Potts pleaded guilty to bribery as part of a negotiated plea agreement Monday morning and is expected to testify against McDowell, Morris said. The trial is expected to finish before week’s end.

Part of Potts’ public safety job in July 2007 was helping the Alabama Department of Human Resources solicit bids for an electronic fingerprint system. At that time, McDowell owned Southern Detention Technologies, which sold fingerprint machines. He is now the owner of Grayco Detention Equipment.

McDowell said he sold the department a machine to be used for fingerprint-based background checks on people who were going to work with children, the elderly and otherwise vulnerable people.

The federal grand jury’s June indictment accused him of offering, and Potts of accepting, a $1,700 check and $1 for every fingerprint scan related to the DHR, according to the statement.

If convicted, McDowell faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

McDowell was elected to Grovetown City Council in 2009, and his term runs through the end of this year. If he is convicted or pleads guilty, he’ll be removed from the council, Mayor George James has said.

City council members re-elected McDowell in January as the city’s mayor pro tempore.

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palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 04/01/13 - 05:35 pm
3
3
The word "scum" enters my
Unpublished

The word "scum" enters my mind.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/01/13 - 06:00 pm
0
0
politicians,
Unpublished

lowyers and anyone doing business with the gubmint found guilty of bribery or any other crime should automatically qualify as a senator from illinois, nevada, washington, california or massachusettes.

sugarbutton
940
Points
sugarbutton 04/02/13 - 07:20 am
2
2
Everyone should have their day in court

And Sonny should have his. Scum is really not a relative description of someone you don't know personally. I am waiting on the results of this one and personally hope it's much less than has been arbitratrarily discussed. He does work hard for Grovetown even if everyone doesn't like what he does. He does have his heart in it. My opinion counts for little but it counts for me. Let's just wait and see what happens and even if found guilty.....the real JUDGE is not me. We all make mistakes in all phases of life and are judged constantly by our peers and even our enemies. What they really think doesn't matter until the very end of IT ALL! Never forget where we came from and that false judgements affect many.

Monolog over. Shower time and start my day and try to remember about casting the first stone, it might ricochet. Hoping for the best for Sonny and his business and the City he represents.

Jan Warren Holley
39
Points
Jan Warren Holley 04/02/13 - 08:59 am
1
1
Sonny McDowell

Sonny is innocent until proven guilty. If he is found to be guilty of anything, let he who is without any sin, cast the first stone.

Riverman1
84919
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Riverman1 04/02/13 - 12:13 pm
0
0
It would be irony if he is

It would be irony if he is fingerprinted on one of the machines he sold.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/02/13 - 12:35 pm
0
0
When you
Unpublished

may be guilty of stealing the public's money, casting stones should be one of the first things done. They do it in islamic regimes to women guilty of nothing more than their sex.

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