Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Karen Byers has rejected a request that a felony bribery charge and two misdemeanor charges against former Gwinnett County commissioner Kevin Kenerly be dismissed.
Kenerly was initially indicted on the three charges, which include two misdemeanor counts of failing to disclose a financial interest, by a special grand jury in 2010. A regularly convened grand jury handed down an identical indictment in 2011, after defense attorney Patrick McDonough argued that the special grand jury was not granted authority under state law to make the initial indictment.
In his request to have the current charges thrown out, McDonough argued that the dual indictments amounted to double-jeopardy and that he would have to fight “wars on two fronts.”
That is not the case, Judge Byers wrote in her Dec. 26 opinion.
“The defendant was never in danger of facing successive indictments at the same time,” Byers wrote. “Had the state waited … the statute of limitations would have run out on” the misdemeanor charges.
Prosecutors say Kenerly accepted $1 million in bribes from developer David Jenkins to arrange for the county to buy land from from the developer for millions more than he paid. They say Jenkins paid Kenerly 20 installments of $50,000, beginning in March 2007 and concluding in October 2008.
Jenkins has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.
Kenerly, who also worked as a real estate investor and was Jenkins’ business partner, denies the charges against him. He has said the payments were legitimate — to cash out of a partnership on a Lawrenceville real estate development.
Beyer’s ruling will be reviewed by an appellate court, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.
The members of the state ethics commission, eager to bring order to one of the most disordered corners of state government, hired a “receiver” last week to heal their agency and then did they only thing they could.
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