Tower trial continues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A hearing regarding the construction of a 120-foot communications tower at the Dallas County Courthouse continued Tuesday afternoon in Selma Municipal Court, where it was decided that involved parties would reconvene at a later date.

City and county government officials in attendance included Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr., Selma City Council President George Evans, Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin, Dallas County Probate Judge Johnny Jones and County Commissioners Kim Ballard, Roy Moore and Connell Towns.

County financial director Nancy Wilson and EMA director Brett Howard were also present.

The county commission was short one member at the hearing – Curtis Williams was absent due to a prior engagement.

Attorneys Prince D. Chestnut and Alston Keith, representing the City of Selma, had subpoenaed all county officials to appear in court and Chestnut stressed this point to Judge Christmas Green.

Henry Pitts, the county’s attorney, said Williams – who is also a reverend – had agreed to appear at a ceremony recognizing Rotary Citizen of the Year the Rev. Charles A. Lett. Pitts couldn’t fathom why the City of Selma would be against a “man of the cloth” attending a religious event.

“It like being against mom’s apple pie on the Fourth of July,” he said.

The city had served papers to county officials to testify in court, but Pitts said not one word would be uttered from their mouths until he receives something in writing from the city “foregoing any civil or criminal prosecution against my clients.”

“I don’t think it’s fair to issue subpoenas to these people who are not going to testify,” Pitts said, adding county officials are “people that not only serve the public, but run businesses.”

While city attorneys still plan on calling county officials to testify, Pitts said they are living in a dreamland and again made it “abundantly clear” his clients will utilize their Fifth Amendment rights when they’re called to the witness stand.

“There’s more fantasy in this case than there is in Disney World,” he said.

Chestnut later requested the county supply meeting minutes from past commission meetings “in a timely manner so we can prepare our case.”

John Kelly, the county’s chief legal officer, replied officials would be more than happy to cooperate with the city’s legal team.

Kelly is currently representing the county in circuit court regarding the tower.

The proceedings are ongoing.