ATLANTA -- A Georgia jury Thursday found a former aide to former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed guilty of violating the state's open records laws.
The Fulton County jury said Jenna Garland, who served as press secretary under Reed, committed two misdemeanors by ordering a subordinate to delay release of public documents politically damaging to Reed and some members of the City Council.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports jurors deliberated about an hour before rendering a verdict. Garland showed little emotion as it was announced.
The state has asked for $1,000 fines on each count. The judge reduced the fines to $750 on each count.
The state argued Garland was trying to save Reed and other top officials from embarrassment and that’s why she involved herself in requests by WSB-TV for water billing records for Reed’s brother, Tracy, and council members. Garland messaged a watershed official, Lillian Govus, on the day in March 2017 that WSB-TV made a request for billing records connected to Tracy Reed. Garland told Govus to “drag this out as long as possible,” and “provide information in the most confusing format available.”
Garland later instructed Govus to “hold all” records until a television station producer contacted Govus for an update on records she requested related to city council members, even though the records were ready to be released. Those text exchanges form the basis for the two criminal citations.