An ex-Atlanta area public official suspected of corruption will now face authorities who are accusing her of taking pay-for-play money.
Sharon Barnes Sutton, former DeKalb County, Ga., Commissioner was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of extortion and bribery.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sutton is believed to have solicited two $500 payments to support a $10 million contract on a county sewer treatment plant. But the alleged crimes took place almost five years ago, raising questions about why prosecutors waited so close to the expiration of the statute of limitations deadline to make a move.
A spokesman for the FBI confirmed Sutton was taken into custody Tuesday morning. But her attorney Bret Williams, notes that the feds arrested his client at her home despite previous offers to turn herself in.
“I just think that was unnecessary because this is somebody’s aunt,” Williams accused. “That’s their prerogative, but they’re just making a show out of it.”
She has been the target of investigation for some years, and has received a series of subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, but there have been no specifics released about arrest or the charges she will be facing.
Earlier this year Sutton received a subpoena ordering her to hand over her campaign and banking records going back to 2012. In 2014, it was discovered that she had used public funds to pay her then-boyfriend $34,000 for “political advice. In that same fiscal year, the Ethics Board was asked to investigate claims the she’d inappropriately used her county purchasing card for personal expenses.
She ultimately left office in 2017 after losing a re-election bid. But despite years of living under a cloud of suspicion, Williams told local station WSB that Sutton is maintaining her innocence and “has always stood ready and willing to face any allegations against her regarding her unblemished time.”