Jenna Garland (left) watches one of her attorneys, Scott Grubman, earlier this week as the court discussed guidelines for jury selection which began Monday in the first-ever criminal prosecution of an alleged violation of the Georgia Open Records Act. Jenna Garland, a former press secretary to ex-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, was accused of ordering a subordinate to delay the release of water billing records requested by Channel 2 Action News that were politically damaging to Reed and other city elected officials. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Reed aide guilty in records case

A Fulton County jury on Thursday found a former aide to Kasim Reed guilty of violating the state’s open records law, finding she committed two misdemeanors by ordering a subordinate to delay release of public documents politically damaging to Reed and some members of City Council.

The state argued Jenna Garland was trying to save Reed and other top officials from embarrassment and that’s why she involved herself in requests by Channel 2 Action News for water billing records for Reed’s brother, Tracy, and council members.

Garland messaged a watershed official, Lillian Govus, on the day in March 2017 that Channel 2 made a request for billing records connected Tracy Reed. Garland told Govus to “drag this out as long as possible,” and “provide information in the most confusing format available.”

Garland later instructed Govus to “hold all” records until a Channel 2 producer contacted Govus for an update on records she requested related to City Councilmembers, even though the records were ready to be released.

Those text exchanges form the basis for the two criminal citations.

The jury deliberated approximately an hour before rendering a verdict and Garland showed little emotion as the forewoman announced it. The state has asked for $1,000 fines on each count.

The judge reduced the fines to $750 on each count.

This is a breaking news story. Return to ajc.com for updates.

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