That changed with one word to Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Crystal Gaines: “guilty.”
Mann didn’t elaborate or return a message seeking comment.
His political opponents, watching Mann from the courtroom benches, said he should resign or be removed from office.
“He does not have the respect from the men and and women who serve the office,” said Harold Dennis, a business owner and Republican who ran against Mann last year. “Now he has to see if he can keep his certification.”
Geraldine Champion, a retired homicide detective who ran against Mann in the Democratic primary, said he should ask DeKalb taxpayers for forgiveness.
“Anybody that did a crime that embarrassing, there’s no way in the world he can be over a jail with prisoners in there who did the same kind of things,” she said.
Mann’s trial had been scheduled to begin Thursday, but it was delayed more than two hours while prosecutors and his attorney negotiated a plea deal behind closed doors. The trial was called off when both sides agreed on the resolution.
Under the deal, prosecutors dropped a charge of public indecency and replaced it with a charge of prohibited conduct.
"Now he can say he never pleaded guilty to indecent exposure," said Esther Panitch, a defense attorney and legal analyst for Channel 2 Action News who attended the court hearing. "I was a little surprised when he said the word 'guilty.' … Now, all of a sudden, he's acting like now he's taking responsibility. That was not his position until today."
Mann’s case also may have been helped by the recommendation of a psychiatrist, who evaluated him and concluded there was no need for counseling or treatment, according to a court document.
Because Mann paid the fine at the courthouse and already completed his community service, the case against him is closed.
He already completed the 40-day suspension ordered by Gov. Nathan Deal, returning to work Monday. He also had suspended himself for a week for violating the DeKalb Sheriff's Office Code of Conduct, saying he brought "negative and unwanted criticism" to the department by putting himself in a position where he could be arrested. He was paid during both suspensions, but he said he'd donate the equivalent of one week's pay to charity.
But Mann still faces a threat to his job, which pays $147,098 a year.
The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which certifies the state's 58,000 officers, will now launch its own investigation, said POST spokesman Ryan Powell earlier this month.
The council could suspend or revoke Mann’s license. A revocation of Mann’s license would result in his removal from office.
About 400 to 500 officers’ certifications are revoked each year, Powell said.
“It’s not uncommon for council to revoke an officer’s certification,” he said. “It’s hard to say” how the council will treat Mann’s case because each allegation is treated independently.
A decision on Mann’s certification could come during the December meeting of the council, which has 21 voting members including sheriffs, police chiefs, mayors and city council members, Powell said.
The Governor suspended Sheriff Jeff Mann for 40 days over the accusations. Mann is due back in court on Thursday.