MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Former Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority chairman, Cliffard Whitby, and a Tallahassee attorney, Harold Knowles, will go on trial next week.
Whitby and Knowles were indicted for allegedly bribing former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand. The indictment claims Whitby paid Dallemand around $400,000 over the course of six years, in exchange for support of the Macon Promise Neighborhood (MPN).
In a pre-trial conference Tuesday afternoon, the prosecution, defense and judge discussed whether or not the jury would hear a recorded conversation between Dallemand and Whitby. According to the indictment, the two met at a South Georgia restaurant in April of 2017. It also claims Whitby had $24,000 in cash to give to Dallemand as part of the bribe money.
Dallemand, who took a plea deal for filing a false tax return, is working with the government. In his April meeting with Whitby, Dallemand was wearing a wire. Both the defense and prosecution claim the some of the recording is difficult to understand, since the restaurant was noisy.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prepared a transcript on what they believed the recording said, then Dallemand reviewed it and made changes to what he could remember from that day. The defense also reviewed the transcript. It’s unclear if the defense and prosecution will present two different versions of the transcript to the jury.
Dallemand is expected to take the stand to testify.
The trial begins September 24, 2018.