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Former Georgia State Senator's Parole Revoked

November 26, 2002|From Reuters

ATLANTA — The state of Georgia on Monday revoked the parole of former state Sen. Ralph David Abernathy III after finding him guilty of taking fees to represent inmates.

The decision means Abernathy, son of the late U.S. civil rights activist Ralph David Abernathy Sr., must return to prison, where he could remain until January 2004.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles said it found that Abernathy had violated his parole by breaking a state law prohibiting anyone other than a licensed attorney from soliciting money to represent prisoners at parole hearings.

Parole board spokeswoman Heather Hedrick said the parole revocation followed a hearing last week at which witnesses testified that Abernathy collected $35,000 from two women on a promise that he could convince board members to release their relatives.

She also said the evidence included taped phone conversations of Abernathy.

The board acquitted Abernathy of four charges of theft by deception, Hedrick said.

Abernathy, who has been held in Atlanta's Fulton County Jail since September, had denied he broke the law. His lawyer, Steve Strelzik, said an appeal was likely. Strelzik could not be reached to comment.

Abernathy had been released from an Atlanta halfway house in May 2001 after serving part of a four-year sentence for defrauding the state of thousands of dollars in expense money.

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