by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A witness in a South Carolina corruption case testified Monday that DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson is linked to that trial currently underway.
As Channel 2 Action News first reported in April, two counts of that indictment involved the alleged solicitation of kickbacks by a DeKalb County official.
According to testimony on Monday, Watson was part of a restaurant meeting that included discussions of illegal payoffs.
The witness who testified Monday already pleaded guilty in connection with the case. He was a business associate of one of the defendants and said he attended that meeting at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Columbia, South Carolina, which several DeKalb County officials attended, including Watson.
He identified Watson by photo in federal court.
Watson did not want to talk about the case when Channel 2's Jodie Fleischer first confronted him in April, but he admitted he was already aware of it.
"Who told you about it?” Fleischer asked.
“Mr. Robinson,” Watson said. “Just that he had some problems in South Carolina. That's all I know."
He's talking about his friend Eric Robinson, a businessman indicted in a federal corruption case with Jonathan Pinson.
The 47-count indictment includes racketeering, theft and bribery.
Two counts outline a scheme to "pay a purported kickback to an elected official in DeKalb County, Georgia."
"And you know that it talks about solicitation of a bribe by a DeKalb County commissioner in that case?" Fleischer asked Watson.
"No I didn't know that. That's not me, I hope not," Watson said.
The case alleges bribes would have been paid by Florida developer Rick Zahn, who already pleaded guilty to a different charge.
In two wiretapped phone calls, prosecutors claim Pinson and Robinson discussed inflating the dollar amount and pocketing some for themselves.
Fleischer asked Watson if he ever did business with Robinson or Pinson, to which he said no, and said he never tried to do business with them either.
“You have no connection to that South Carolina case whatsoever?” Fleischer asked Watson.
“None whatsoever," Watson said.
As of now, no DeKalb officials have been charged with anything related to the case.
DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson linked to SC corruption case
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