(Atlanta, 8 January 2002) Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that a true bill of indictment was returned today in Fulton County Superior Court against State Senator Donnie Lavan “Van” Streat of Nicholls, Georgia. The indictment sets out four counts of Violation of Oath of Office and one count of Making a False Statement, all felonies under Georgia’s criminal code.
The investigation arose out of allegations that Senator Streat had used his office to have a convicted murderer and two-time prison escapee transferred from close security state prisons into lower-level security facilities in return for money received from friends and associates of the prisoner. The indictment also alleges that during the course of the investigation, in a statement made to investigating agents, Senator Streat misled GBI agents about money that he had received from Gaither’s associates as well as what had become of that money.
“When I have evidence that elected officials have abused their positions of authority, have violated the solemn oath of public trust granted to them by the people of Georgia, and have misled law enforcement personnel investigating their actions, I will vigorously prosecute them in Georgia’s courts. My office, along with agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, have conducted a thorough investigation of this case, and our efforts have led us to the point where we sought and obtained an indictment today before the Fulton County Grand Jury,” said Attorney General Baker.
Each count of Violation of Oath of Office carries a penalty of one to five years in prison, and the count of Making a False Statement carries a penalty of one to five years in prison plus a $1000.00 fine.
Deputy Attorney General Michael Hobbs and Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Schwartz will prosecute the case. Special Agents Clay Nix and Sandra Putnam of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of Hobbs and Schwartz, handled the investigation for the state.