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Ex-state Sen. Charles Walker being moved from federal prison

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 11:40 AM
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 1:17 AM
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Former state Sen. Charles W. Walker is being transferred from a federal prison in Estill, S.C., a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman said Tuesday.

Charles W. Walker was convicted of 127 of 137 criminal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and false tax returns on June 3, 2005.  MIKE HOLAHAN/FILE
MIKE HOLAHAN/FILE
Charles W. Walker was convicted of 127 of 137 criminal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and false tax returns on June 3, 2005.

The bureau did not say where Walker is being transferred and won’t until the transfer is complete because it would pose a safety risk.

Walker, 66, was convicted of 127 felony charges related to various schemes in 2005. He paid more than $1 million in restitution, fines and court fees.

A federal jury convicted Walker of charges relating to the gross inflation of his newspaper’s circulation, which cheated two advertisers; using his political influence and lying about his ownership of his personnel company to obtain government contracts at two public hospitals; and helping himself to money raised by the charity he co-founded, the CSRA Classic football event.

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said Walker still has a release date of Sept. 26, 2014, and will remain in custody until then, but he is eligible for a community-based program, which includes options such as a halfway house and home confinement.

Augusta Commission member Bill Fennoy, who managed a convenience store for Walker, said he was told by a reliable source who’s “99 percent” certain that the former state senator is being released to a halfway house in Columbia.

“It’s the same type transitional center that the federal government is trying to get started in Richmond County that he’s in today,” said Fennoy, who has worked in the prison system transition centers for the health department. “He will have to work and abide by the rules of the transitional center until he’s fully released. A portion of earnings go toward room and board at transitional center. Outstanding fines or fees that he has incurred, a portion of his earnings, will go toward that. A portion of his earnings he will have to save.”

He said many in the Augusta community will be happy to hear the news about Walker.

“A lot of people feel that he was unjustly incarcerated,” Fennoy said. “Personally, I don’t see where he did anything wrong. I was not at the trial; the federal government may be privy to information I don’t have, but I don’t personally feel like he did anything wrong.

“The community will be glad to see when he’s permanently released and glad to see him reunited with his family and to get on with his life.”

In the federal court system, parole has been abolished but a prisoner may be released early when he is within one year of completing his sentence.

After Walker completes his sentence, he will begin a three-year period of supervised release, remaining under the federal court’s control.

Butch Gallop, a relative and protege of Walker’s, called his release to a halfway house “a wonderful thing.”

“It’s going to be a wonderful thing for me personally that he’s out,” said Gallop, a consultant for a company that manages the city’s construction projects. “One, he’s family. That’s important to me: family. He is to me a hell of a man, and he deserves a second chance just like everyone else. He’s been great to this community for a long time. He’s been great for the state.”

In 1996, Walker became one of Georgia’s most powerful politicians when his peers chose him to be the Senate majority leader. Although he lost his Senate seat in 2002, Walker’s popularity continued in the community and he was able to regain the seat in 2004 – after he was indicted on the federal charges.

Any future political run Walker might contemplate will be delayed a decade.

A state law that went into effect in 1991 prohibits convicted felons from holding political office until they have their civil rights restored and 10 years have passed without further criminal conviction.

Staff Writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this article.

The backstory

BACKGROUND:

Charles W. Walker was convicted of 127 of 137 criminal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and false tax returns on June 3, 2005.

On Nov. 29, 2005, he was sentenced to 121 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines, special assessments and restitution.

DEVELOPMENTS: 

On Tuesday, Walker was released from the federal Estill Correctional Facility in South Carolina to a transition center.

Walker’s incarceration period ends Sept. 26, 2014. After that time, he will be on three years of supervised release and subject to a number of restrictions.

 TIMELINE:

November 1947: Charles W. Walker born in Burke County.

1959: Walker starts his first business by organizing other boys to help him sell boiled peanuts.

1965-69: Walker serves in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

1974: Walker graduates from Augusta College with a degree in business administration.

1982-90: Walker serves in the Georgia House of Representatives.

1990: Walker elected to the state Senate.

1991: Law goes into effect in Georgia that prohibits convicted felons from running for political office until their civil rights are restored and 10 years has passed without another criminal conviction.

1996: State senators vote for Walker to become Georgia’s first black Senate majority leader.

2002: Walker loses his Senate seat to political newcomer J. Randal Hall.

2003: Federal agents execute search warrants at Walker’s company and his newspaper, The Augusta Focus.

June 23, 2004: Walker is indicted on federal charges.

2004: Walker regains Senate seat by soundly beating Republican Sen. Don Cheeks.

June 3, 2005: Walker convicted in federal court. He is immediately stripped of his Senate seat.

Nov. 29, 2005: Walker gets 121 months in federal prison.

Dec. 15, 2005: Walker begins prison term in Estill, S.C., facility.

July 6, 2007: Federal appeals court denies Walker’s appeal. Ruling would survive all further appellate challenges.

December 2008: U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr., who presided over Walker’s trial, divides $67,000 restitution Walker paid for illegal use of campaign funds among several charities including the Heritage Academy, Augusta State University Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Augusta.

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Pops
8547
Points
Pops 12/17/13 - 09:04 pm
6
2
The state law concerning convicted

felons not being able to run for office till ten years pass after their civil rights have been restored was referred to as "The McIntyre" law. Read this in the Augusta archives (1990).

Fitting.

gcap
290
Points
gcap 12/17/13 - 09:49 pm
7
2
The comments by Fennoy prove it!

Richmond County is uneducated and racist. Will someone with a little intelligence please run for office? Please....

Graymare
3210
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Graymare 12/17/13 - 09:56 pm
2
1
Seenitb4, if you look at the

Seenitb4, if you look at the article, that is a file photo not a recent one. Just sayin'

jwilliams
831
Points
jwilliams 12/17/13 - 11:02 pm
8
1
Taken from the Augusta

Taken from the Augusta Chronicle, 2005 titled “Mc Intyre bill now applies to Walker.”Depending on the length of his punishment, it could be decades before Walker is eligible to hold public office again in Georgia. His age, coupled with a 15-year-old piece of legislation that was considered an attempt to keep his political foe, Ed McIntyre, from regaining office, could make it difficult for him to re-enter state politics. The Democrat-backed measure was known as the "McIntyre bill." It's now a state law, preventing those convicted of crimes involving "moral turpitude" from holding office in Georgia unless they've had their civil rights restored and have been out of jail for at least 10 years without another criminal conviction. It’s widely believed that either Walker or his mentor, former state Senate Majority Leader Thomas Allgood, pulled strings to usher it through the Legislature at a time when McIntyre, after serving time in a federal prison for bribery and extortion, was contemplating a run against Walker for the 22nd District Senate seat. Be very careful when digging a hole for someone else, “YOU” might just fall in it.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 12/18/13 - 07:26 am
0
0
one more member of the gang
Unpublished

one more member of the gang back together...

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 12/18/13 - 07:39 am
2
1
JMO

Good analogy, but I believe it would be more like a person NOT watching a trailer, reading the book or watching the movie, then giving a rating on the movie!! It just doesn't make sense.

But I can't agree with you on the "another chance" part; at least not in elected political positions. If he want's to get back into private charity groups, sure; just keep an eye on him.

But as far as elected positions, my PERSONAL OPINION is, if you're convicted of a felony, you should be banned for LIFE!!

Why? Because ALL our lives are at stake with elected politicians. FELONS, have proven themselves more susceptible to making bad decisions, even criminal decisions. Is this something we want to gamble our lives with? In law enforcement, if we are convicted of a felony, POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) wil REVOKE our certification as a law enforement officer. You will not work as a certified law enforcement officer in Georgia again!! So, should politicians not be held to the similar standards?

Yes, I believe in second chances in life, but a second chance is life doesn't neccessarily mean one should get a second chance in public office, where ALL our lives are effected. Just my opinion.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 12/18/13 - 09:25 am
3
1
ok graymare

I guess some time has passed since that flashing smile.....we shall see if he still has it.

nocnoc
42691
Points
nocnoc 12/18/13 - 09:47 am
4
0
Remember a ARC Commissioner Said this.

Fennoy said. “Personally, I don’t see where he did anything wrong."

That should be a major warning sign and RED FLARE in itself.

Truth Matters
6853
Points
Truth Matters 12/18/13 - 10:07 am
1
1
" I was working in Wash. DC

" I was working in Wash. DC when Mayor Marion Barry was arrested, tried and sentenced for cocaine. He served time, but went back in politics soon after release. "

Barry should have run off to rehab like the good congressman from Florida did recently. I guess times have changed.

Truth Matters
6853
Points
Truth Matters 12/18/13 - 10:19 am
4
0
"Richmond County is

"Richmond County is uneducated and racist."

Unless I missed something, this is the only person talking about race.

deestafford
27719
Points
deestafford 12/18/13 - 11:35 am
2
2
Has a date been set aside for the..,

James Brown Arena to host a welcome home party led by Bill "He did nothing wrong" Fennoy and his other ''black first'' homies?

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 12/18/13 - 01:47 pm
1
0
"Walker, 66, was convicted of

"Walker, 66, was convicted of 127 felony charges related to various schemes in 2005." Augusta Chronicle

“Personally, I don’t see where he did anything wrong..." Augusta Commission member Bill Fennoy

This tells you all you need to know about Augusta City Government.

Darby
25701
Points
Darby 12/19/13 - 02:26 am
1
0
"For those who bet on an early release,

it didn't happen."

.
Does that mean Robin Williams is already out? After all, he went in before Walker and with the same ten year sentence.

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