MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Day 3 in the trial against former Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority (MBCIA) chairman Cliffard Whitby and Harold Knowles ended with an FBI agent on the witness stand.
The prosecution called Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent James Langdon to the stand to testify Wednesday afternoon. Langdon says the FBI was initially investigating former Bibb County School Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand. As agents were looking through Dallemand’s bank statements, they found a $100,000 check and traced it back to Whitby and Knowles.
In December of 2016, Langdon says the FBI went to Dallemand’s home in Florida and questioned him about filing false tax returns.
Langdon says the current bribery case Whitby and Knowles is just a part of a broader investigation. As the FBI continued to investigate, they learned things and went back to interview Dallemand. Langdon says Dallemand agreed to record phone calls and wear a wire to meet with Whitby.
Langdon told the jury that during the first attempt at recording the phone call between Whitby and Dallemand, Dallemand was sitting next to Langdon in a car. Langdon then realized he put the batteries in backwards and was unable to record the conversation, but says he did take notes. He says could hear Whitby telling Dallemand he considered Dallemand as a good friend. During the conversation, Dallemand asked Whitby for money for legal fees. Whitby told him he had to talk to his wife and he would get back to him.
They spoke over the phone one last time, according to Langdon, before meeting near the Florida/Georgia line.
Dallemand and Whitby went to a Denny’s in South Georgia. Langdon and another agent watched Whitby and Dallemand enter the Denny’s. The prosecution showed the jury a picture of the two coming out of the Denny’s. Both men then went into a white mini van Whitby was driving and that’s how Dallemand received the $24,000 in cash.
Langdon was briefly cross-examined by Whitby’s attorney, before Judge Marc Treadwell called it a day.
Mercer University professor, Mary Alice Morgan, also testified and spoke of her involvement in the Macon Promise Neighborhood (MPN). The government claims Whitby and Knowles bribed Dallemand during his time as the Bibb County School Superintendent to support the MPN. Morgan and former Mercer University professor Dr. Peter Brown say they wanted Whitby to serve as the MPN executive director.
Dr. Brown confirms Whitby did not seek the executive director position for Macon Promise Neighborhood (MPN), Whitby was recruited. Brown thought Whitby would be a great fit for the role bc of his personal experience w/ the Tindall Heights and Unionville neighborhoods.
— Edna Ruiz (@ednaruiztv) September 26, 2018
The trial will pick up with cross-examination of Langdon at 8 AM.