A Fulton County jury acquitted State Senator Don Balfour Thursday on charges he filed fraudulent expense reports. The state was unsuccessful in its attempts to argue Balfour knowingly took legislative pay when he wasn’t on official state business. His defense successfully argued the errors were innocent mistakes. It took the jury about three hours to decide the Snellville Republican was innocent of all charges. He was accused of trying to bilk the state by falsifying travel vouchers. His defense argued Balfour wasn’t trying to steal because he often didn’t collect all of the reimbursements owed to him.
A Fulton County jury will begin deliberations again Thursday on the fate of State Senator Don Balfour. He faces charges he filed fraudulent expense reports. The Snellville Republican’s three-day trial in Fulton County Superior Court ended Wednesday with his testimony that the case was the fruit of political enemies plotting against him. His defense argued the errors in travel vouchers he filed between 2007 and 2012 were innocent mistakes. His attorneys also showed he often didn’t collect reimbursements owed to him, and the amounts in question were small.
The state rested its case Tuesday in the trial of state Senator Don Balfour, after aiming to show the Snellville Republican cheated taxpayers. The long-serving senator is charged with seeking reimbursements on days when he wasn’t on state duty.
State Senator Don Balfour’s trial has begun in Fulton County Superior. He ‘s accused of defrauding the state. Prosecutors say Balfour sought reimbursements to which he wasn’t entitled. The Snellville Republican is charged with submitting false expense reports to claim reimbursements when he wasn't on official state duty. In one instance, he allegedly billed the state and his employer, the Waffle House, for the same item. Balfour’s attorneys say he didn’t intend to cheat, and plan to argue that he mistakenly claimed reimbursements when he wasn't on official state duty.
This week, Gov. Nathan Deal suspended a state Senator under indictment. Don Balfour allegedly claimed reimbursements when he wasn't on Senate business. At his suspension hearing Wednesday, his attorney said the errors were inadvertent.
Gov. Nathan Deal suspended state Senator Don Balfour on Wednesday following his criminal indictment in September. Deal’s decision came at the recommendation of three fellow Republicans he appointed to sift through the charges. Balfour, a Snellville Republican, faces charges he illegally claimed reimbursements when he wasn't on official state duty. In a hearing Wednesday, Balfour’s attorney, Ken Hodges, argued the expense report errors were inadvertent. And he said a state Senate ethics committee has already determined just that.
Ethics reformers are applauding the indictment of State Senator Don Balfour on allegations he illegally claimed travel expenses. But experts say it won’t be easy proving Balfour knowingly misappropriated state funds.
The race for Georgia State Senate District 9 will be one to watch: Senator Don Balfour, a veteran of the gold dome, who is currently under criminal investigation, is up against a political newcomer, Lawrenceville attorney Scott Drake.
Joshua McKoon, a Columbus Republican, said Monday that the $5,000 fine that Don Balfour negotiated with the Ethics Committee last week is insufficient. McKoon, the lone member to vote against the settlement, filed a minority report with the Senate.