LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The son of former Gwinnett County commissioner Shirley Lassetter made his first court appearance for domestic abuse and child cruelty allegations on Saturday morning.
John Fanning was booked into the Gwinnett County jail Friday while waiting to go to federal prison on bribery drug charges.
Channel 2's Sophia Choi was the only reporter in court Saturday for the hearing. She said the 34-year-old is now charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault and cruelty to children.
Choi said Fanning told the judge, who did not set bond in the case, that he's broke and needs help from the court.
"I'm asking the court to appoint me counsel, unless some miraculous reason someone in my family could round up some money but I don't see that happening. So I would say I will need a court-appointed attorney," Fanning said.
Gwinnett County investigators arrested him Friday morning after a bus driver notified her dispatch of a domestic dispute on Bold Springs Road in Dacula.
"It's a domestic dispute. And,
uhm, the male has a weapon," the 911 caller said.
"She was screaming at the bus driver to call 911 and then the man took off in the woods, but he had a gun," the caller continued.
A SWAT team searched the woods near the home and quickly found him.
Channel 2 Action News also obtained the booking video, where deputies quickly found Fanning's ankle monitor.
Fanning had been ordered to wear the monitor while he waited to go to a federal prison.
A judge sentenced him to nearly five years for his role in a bribery scheme involving land deals, his mother's vote and drug trafficking.
Fanning's next scheduled court appearance on the domestic abuse case is Oct. 17.