Documents lead to argument from attorneys

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2005

MARION-Day two of the Marion mayor’s race trial continued with more of the same from Tuesday, however, it ended with some fireworks.

Throughout the day conflicting address were again brought to the courts attention. However, at the end of the day when Robert Bryant, who was defeated in the election by current mayor Tony Long, took the stand things heated up.

Before Bryant was really able to answer his first question Long’s attorney Jim Barnes objected to some of the tactics of his opponent. Barnes protested the use of so many ballots when only a few were to be challenged.

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“I am up here getting ambushed,” Barnes said. “I am getting ambushed. I didn’t get some of this information until Tuesday. It is impossible to do something with this if you don’t have it.”

Bryant’s attorney Robert Turner said Barnes had seen all the information he had been given.

“In normal cases one party has privilege of knowledge that the other party does not,” Turner said. “In this case, Mr. Barnes knows everything that I know. We did not discuss anything that he did not hear.”

Barnes said there were documents he did not receive some information regarding the case until Tuesday, the day the case began.

Turner countered by saying Barnes had requested the trial be moved to Tuesday because he would be out of town. For this reason, Turner said he just put the information in the mail.

Barnes again came back saying he had been in and out of his office all day Monday, but his car had been parked in the back. Barnes said not having access to the information had put a tremendous strain on his case.

“In a matter of fairness, we have been caught in midstream,” Barnes said. “He is trying to make me do something in 24 hours that couldn’t be done in six weeks.”

Barnes also said he strongly objected to now having 630 ballots brought into the case where there had been only a little over 100 initially. Barnes said this was a move to make him concentrate on an unfair number of irrelevant votes. Barnes said this made his case very difficult and made Turner’s much easier. Barnes pleaded this idea to the judge.

“I realize this is not their problem,” Barnes said. “I realize it is not your problem either. But this is my problem and it is certainly my client’s problem. I just want a level playing field and to have a fair shake.”

Barnes said he wanted to see right prevail in this trial.

“I want to make sure the voters who should have a right to vote get to vote,” Barnes said. “After that, let the best man or woman win.”

Turner said Barnes complaint about keeping documents from him had no grounds. He said they both looked at the same documents they simply looked for different things.

“Everybody had the same information it is just a question of how you interpret it,” Turner said. “If you think your man is right you may overlook the wrong. My job is to prove illegality.”

Turner again said the same information had been made available for both clients. He said he had noticed irregularities in the ballots and planned to continue to use those irregularities to prove his clients claims.

“Everybody had the same information available,” Turner said. “When I first read the case and the election material I just thought I saw a lot of irregularities.”

Court was dismissed and will resume again Thursday morning at 9 a.m. A verdict is not expected until Friday.