Indictment of former Cobb EMC chief stands

The racketeering indictment against former Cobb EMC chief executive officer Dwight T. Brown, will stand, the Georgia State Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Brown was first indicted in 2011 for operating the non-profit utility, which provides electricity service in Cobb County, as a for-profit company that benefited its leaders. That indictment was set aside as Brown’s lawyers successfully argued the grand jury’s findings were not returned “in a place that was open to the public.”

He was indicted again a year later. Brown’s attorneys argued the second indictment, which mirrored the first, was invalid because the grand jury consisted of Cobb EMC customers, who are potential victims. That poses an unconstitutional conflict of interest, Brown’s attorney’s argued.

The state Supreme Court, however, rejected that claim. It said such conflicts don’t apply to grand juries. Criminal defendants are protected from such conflicts in criminal trials. But that protection doesn’t extend to grand juries, the court ruled Monday.

Brown faces 31 criminal counts, including theft, false swearing, conspiracy to defraud the state and racketeering. He has maintained his innocence.

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