Federal prosecutors linked DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson to defendants in a South Carolina public corruption trial Monday, showing jurors Watson’s picture during a witness’ testimony.
Prosecution witness Phil Mims didn’t identify Watson by name. But Mims said he saw a mustachioed man from the DeKalb County Commission meet at the Columbia Hilton hotel with one of the defendants, Jonathan Pinson, according to The State newspaper. That’s when prosecutors showed a picture of Watson that withheld his name but identified him as the DeKalb commissioner.
Watson, who represents east DeKalb County, denied knowledge of the case.
“I know nothing about that. I have no idea,” Watson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when reached by phone Monday. “No one subpoenaed me. I’m not indicted. I have no other comment.”
Mims testified during the trial in Columbia, S.C., that Pinson and his business partner, Eric Robinson, talked with Florida developer Richard Zahn about their influence over politicians during a meeting at the hotel.
Mims said Pinson made references to the effect of, “We got a few of them under control or we’ve got them in our corner.”
Mims didn’t say which politicians Pinson was referring to.
Mims pleaded guilty last November to conspiracy and bank fraud charges related to Pinson’s investment in a housing development.
Pinson, the former chairman of South Carolina State University’s board of trustees, and Robinson are on trial on charges that they used their political and personal connections to enrich themselves through a series of white-collar crimes.
One of those alleged crimes involved discussions to pay bribes to a DeKalb elected official in exchange for favorable treatment, according to a 52-count indictment. The indictment didn’t say what the defendants wanted from the DeKalb official in return for the payment or whether they carried out their plan.
The indictment refered to an “elected DeKalb County Councilman,” but it didn’t name him.