Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that he intends to seek a re-trial of former state Senator Ralph David Abernathy III. Visiting Judge L.A. McConnell declared a mistrial today after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on 32 felony counts against Abernathy that they were considering.
“I will re-try this case as quickly as possible,” Baker said. “We stand behind the charges and the evidence in this case,” he continued.
On October 20, 1998, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Abernathy for theft by taking, false statement, violating his oath of office, forgery and influencing a witness. The trial began on September 7, 1999, and was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stacey Hydrick and Counsel to the Attorney General Mike Hobbs.
The investigation arose as a result of an Open Records Act request for documents related to Abernathy’s legislative expense account. In June 1998, Abernathy filed suit against the state and the Georgia Senate to block release of the documents. As a result of the document review undertaken by Baker to defend the state against Abernathy’s suit, Baker asked the GBI to investigate possible wrongdoing by Abernathy. The information developed during the investigation resulted in the indictment.