State Sen. Michael Williams' mug shot. The former Republican gubernatorial candidate turned himself into Hall County jail on Dec. 26, 2018. (Courtesy of WSB-TV.)

‘Deportation bus’ candidate reports to jail following indictment

State senator and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams turned himself into Hall County jail Wednesday, days after news broke that he had been indicted on charges that included insurance fraud

Williams’ attorney, A.J. Richman, said he negotiated bond with the district attorney and that his client will be “out soon.” 

“Senator Williams looks forward to his day in court, and I will vigorously defend him,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

The charges against the Forsyth County Republican, who will likely remain in office until mid-January, stem from a May incident in which Williams reported his Gainesville campaign office was burglarized. At the time, Williams’ campaign manager said $300,000 worth of computer servers that were being used to mine cryptocurrency had been taken from the building

Williams is accused of lying to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent when he said he was at home in Forsyth County, not in the Gainesville area at the time of the purported burglary. The indictment, which doesn’t say what allegedly actually happened to the servers, accuses Williams of making a false insurance claim related to the servers.

Read more: Former Ga. candidate for governor indicted

Richman said an indictment “is not evidence of anything.” 

“It is a one-sided story presented to a group of people, with the accused being unable to respond,” he said. 

Seth Weathers, Williams' ex-campaign manager, called the charges a “political witch hunt” last week and said they lacked merit. Richman previously made clear that Weathers’ comments did “not reflect my team’s position.” 

Williams came in fifth place out of five candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary in May. He waged a controversial campaign that featured several attention-grabbing stunts, his final being a “deportation bus.” He frequently highlighted his status as the first state official to endorse Donald Trump for president, and he wasn’t afraid to pick fights with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, then the frontrunner in the gubernatorial race. 

He will likely remain a sitting member of the Georgia Senate until Jan. 14, when he’ll be succeeded by Republican Greg Dolezal. The body could reconvene to vote to expel Williams, but that is considered unlikely. 

Staff writer Joshua Sharpe contributed to this article. 

Read more: 'Deportation bus’ candidate’s rocky ride began long before criminal charges

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