Cobb judge upholds ex-Cobb EMC chief's indictment

A Cobb County judge has upheld a second racketeering and theft indictment against former Cobb EMC chief Dwight Brown.

In orders filed Thursday, Judge Robert Flournoy III denied all three motions presented in November by Brown's attorneys, including former Gov. Roy Barnes, to have the case thrown out.

The defense had challenged the indictment because four of the twenty grand jury members issuing the indictments were also Cobb EMC members. Flournoy overruled the argument, and noted in his orders that even if the votes of the four EMC members weren't counted, the remaining 16 grand jury members who voted to indict Brown are sufficient. Flournoy also rejected arguments that Brown couldn't be charged while the state appeals an initial indictment against Brown.

Flournoy threw out the first 31-count indictment because it was not delivered in open court. The second indictment, handed down in July, included the same 31 initial charges, plus four more charges of witness intimidation. Those stemmed from Cobb EMC's move to file a civil lawsuit against people who allegedly cooperated with the prosecution in the criminal investigation against Brown. Flournoy refused to dismiss the four additional charges on Thursday.

The racketeering and theft charges stem from Cobb EMC's creation of a for-profit company that members said was used to siphon funds from the co-op and benefit Brown and other co-op leaders.