Records show Walker, Williams were moved

Charles Walker and Robin Williams, fallen pillars of Augusta's political landscape, might be using what they know to get out of federal prison earlier than 2014.

The former Georgia legislators are not in their assigned facility in Estill, S.C. Each is listed as being under a "federal writ," which means they've been taken somewhere to testify in federal court, U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said Monday.

If a prisoner's help proves useful in a case, prosecutors can ask a federal judge to reduce his sentence. It's a convict's only motivation to cooperate, said Jack Long, Mr. Williams' attorney. Mr. Long said he wasn't aware his client had been moved, adding that defense attorneys usually aren't involved in the negotiations.

"Once you're in the control of the federal government, they do all sorts of things with you," he said.

Ms. Ponce said the bureau would not disclose where the men are or what agencies issued the writs. U.S. Attorney Edmund A. Booth Jr., whose office prosecuted them, said he wasn't aware they had been moved and doesn't know who had it done.

"You're telling me news I wasn't aware of," Mr. Booth said.

Like Mr. Long, the assistants for Ed Garland and Don Samuel, Mr. Walker's attorneys, were surprised when told of the move.

In 2006, Mr. Williams was moved from Estill to a county jail outside Montgomery, Ala., during the corruption trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Mr. Williams never testified in the case, which ended with Mr. Siegelman's conviction.

Mr. Williams, 46, spent a decade as a state representative until Sue Burmeister unseated him in 2000. In 2005 he was convicted of 17 charges of conspiracy, bribery, theft, health care fraud and money laundering involving schemes that bilked more than $2 million from the Community Mental Health Center of East Central Georgia. He's serving a 10-year sentence, as is Mr. Walker, 60, a former state Senate majority leader.

Once considered a gubernatorial prospect, Mr. Walker was convicted in 2005 of 127 felony charges, including using his clout and political position to cheat campaign contributors, two hospitals, advertisers in his Augusta Focus newspaper and the CSRA Classic charity event he founded.

He has exhausted his appeals and paid $200,000 in fines and court fees and nearly $700,000 in restitution.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.