clear
Tuesday May 5th, 2015 9:31PM

Acquitted GA lawmaker asks state to pay legal fees

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - A lawyer for a Georgia state senator acquitted of illegally claiming mileage and expense reimbursements is asking the state to pay his client's legal fees.

Ken Hodges, an attorney for Sen. Don Balfour, on Monday sent a letter to the Georgia Department of Administrative Services seeking reimbursement for nearly $156,800 in legal fees for the Snellville Republican. He cited a section of state law that allows state officials to be reimbursed for "reasonable legal fees and other expenses incurred in the successful defense of any criminal proceeding" that arises from the performance of his official duties.

Balfour was indicted in September on felony charges of making a false certificate, theft by taking and a count of false statement and writing. He was accused of illegally claiming legislative expense and mileage pay and double-billing the state and his private employer for some charges.

A jury in December found him not guilty on all 18 counts.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Sam Olens, whose office prosecuted the case, had no comment on the request for reimbursement.

Lawyer Pat McDonough represented Balfour in the early phases of the matter and "gathered enough evidence to refute the allegations and had multiple meetings with members of the law department in order to dissuade them from bringing formal charges," Hodges wrote in his letter. McDonough's firm charged Balfour $52,484 for its work.

Balfour hired Hodges' firm once he was indicted, and Hodges' firm charged him $97,093.60 for work leading up to the trial and other matters that had to be handled after the verdict. Balfour also had the help of a recent law school graduate hired to do research and to work with evidence and witnesses for a fee of $7,210.

Under state law, legal fees and other expenses are subject to adjustment and approval by the attorney general.

Balfour's lawyers didn't deny during the trial that he submitted some inaccurate reports, but they said he didn't deliberately try to take money from the state and said he was being unfairly targeted for inadvertent mistakes.

After the verdict, Olens defended his office's prosecution of the case and said he remained convinced the accusations in the indictment were valid.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US stocks post sixth straight year of gains
U.S. stocks ended a strong 2014 with moderate declines Wednesday.
4:43PM ( 4 months ago )
Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel
Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
1:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 4 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 4 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 4 months ago )
Politics
UNG to open Blue Ridge instructional site
With state funding approved recently, the University of North Georgia (UNG) plans to open an instructional site this fall in Blue Ridge.
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:32AM ( 1 week ago )
Suwanee Farmers Market opens May 2
The Suwanee Farmers Market opens at Town Center Park Saturday, May 2. It will be open each Saturday from 8:00-12:00 through October 3.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:24AM ( 1 week ago )
UNG/Gainesville hosts student money management conference for state institutions
The University of North Georgia (UNG) Friday hosted student counselors, admissions officers, financial advisors and others from University System of Georgia (USG) institutions in a one-day conference about increasing financial literacy among high school and college students.
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:42PM ( 1 week ago )
FBHS senior receives JEMC scholarship
Jackson EMC recently awarded Allison Walls, Flowery Branch High School senior, with a 2015 Walter Harrison Scholarship, named in honor of a rural electrification pioneer.
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:49AM ( 1 week ago )
Lanier Tech wins 2nd straight TCSG Instructor of the Year Award
For the first time in the history of Georgia's technical colleges, a school has back-to-back winners of the coveted Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:44AM ( 1 week ago )