Kenerly in legal limbo after eight months

Eight months after he was indicted on charges of bribery and other offenses, former Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly remains in legal limbo. Here’s what you need to know:

The investigation: Two years ago The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a series of articles about land deals in which Gwinnett might have paid millions of dollars more than the properties were worth. In each case commissioners backing the land deals had ties to developers or others involved.

A special grand jury later investigated the deals, and it released a report in October that confirmed the newspaper’s findings, saying county commissioners overspent on land to benefit friends who championed the deals.

The indictment: The grand jurors indicted Kenerly on one felony charge of bribery and two misdemeanor counts of failing to disclose a partnership with a developer who successfully sought county rezoning of two properties. Grand jurors said Kenerly "directly or indirectly" accepted or agreed to accept payments totaling $1 million as bribes for arranging for the County Commission to buy real estate.

Grand jurors also considered a perjury charge against commission Chairman Charles Bannister, but they decided not to indict him when he offered to resign. Bannister stepped down Oct. 8.

Kenerly denied the accusations against him. But he resigned from the commission in November, saying the charges had become a distraction for the county.

The appeal: Kenerly appealed his indictment to the Georgia Court of Appeals. He argued the special grand jury did not have the authority to indict him. He also claimed District Attorney Danny Porter improperly influenced a grand jury to disregard the commissioner's right against self-incrimination. Porter has said he did nothing wrong.

What's next: The appeal has been pending since December. Kenerly's attorney, Patrick McDonough, said a decision from the Court of Appeals could come later this summer.

If convicted of all counts, Kenerly faces up to 22 years in prison. Even if he wins his appeal, Kenerly might not escape criminal charges. Porter has said he could take his case to another grand jury, which could result in another indictment.

Staff writer Andria Simmons contributed to this article.

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