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5 lawyers representing homeless man in I-85 bridge fire

Five private attorneys have notified the court that they will be representing the homeless man accused of setting a fire that led to the collapse of a portion of Interstate 85.

According to court records, Basil Eleby is being represented by Lawrence Zimmerman, Gerald Griggs, Mawuli Davis, Gary Spencer and Tiffany Roberts. All are experienced in high-profile cases and are working for Eleby without charge.

Here is a look at the attorneys:

  • Zimmerman was the attorney for Leanna Taylor, whose ex-husband Justin Ross Harris was convicted of murdering their 2-year-old son by leaving him in a hot car. 
  • Griggs, the vice president of the Atlanta NAACP, represented one of the former educators who was convicted in the massive Atlanta Public Schools cheating case. 
  • Davis is president of the Decatur NAACP chapter and has represented the families of victims in police shooting cases. 
  • Spencer represented a former DeKalb County official who pleaded guilty to taking a bribe in exchange for his vote approving a nightclub. 
  • Roberts has brought cases against the city alleging Atlanta police conducted improper pat downs and searches.

Eleby is scheduled to be in court next Tuesday.

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The 39-year-old was indicted Friday on two felony charges — arson and criminal damage to property in the first degree. He is being held in the Fulton County Jail on a $200,000 bond.

Police said Eleby was using drugs under an elevated stretch of the interstate, just before I-85 southbound merges with Interstate 75. He allegedly set fire to a chair in a shopping cart which melted and then ignited high-density plastic conduit used for cabling and fiber optic wire networks that had been stored under the interstate and forgotten for years.

The I-85 collapse has thrown metro Atlanta into traffic gridlock expected to last until mid June. Officials say they will have the interstate repaired by June 15.

Carmen Dixon, 21 of Riverdale, said she was heading home from work in North Druid Hills. She said she could feel the heat as she passed the flames, which you hear her scream about at the end of the footage.

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