Greensboro dispute still up in the air

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Last week, Montgomery Attorney James Anderson said he should have a recommendation for Judge William Shashy in the Greensboro Mayor’s trial “in a week or so.”

As of Friday, a recommendation had not come through.

Shashy heard evidence from current mayor Johnny B. Washington’s attorney William Pompey and challenger Vanessa Hill’s attorney Walter Braswell in late December and early January before ending the hearing.

Email newsletter signup

When the recommendation is made, Braswell said, he expects his client to be named Mayor of Greensboro.

“I think when his decision comes out it will put Vanessa in office immediately,” Brawswell said. “I don’t think he will let them wait for an appeal because the evidence shows it was a case of organized fraud.”

The evidence, Braswell said, should leave no doubt this was not an innocent mistake.

“If it were a problem with ballot tabulations I think it would he handled differently,” Braswell said. “I don’t think there is any way for them to look at this and say there was not an organized effort at work.”

He added the evidence did not show that Washington knowingly participated or was aware of any wrongdoing.

When the decision is handed down, Braswell said, the city would finally be able to move forward.

“I hope when this is over the residents of Greensboro can come together,” Braswell said. “There are a lot of things this city needs to work on without these distractions.”

Pompey could not be reached for comment.

Throughout the proceedings both sides presented evidence from handwriting experts. Braswell brought in handwriting expert Richard Roper who testified to 180 ballots with signatures differing on documents such as ballots, applications and affidavits.

Pompey countered with Steve Drexel, his own handwriting expert. Drexel testified around 20 ballots Braswell had challenged should not be thrown out. He said the voters had actually signed the affidavits Roper alleged were signed by different people.

When Anderson makes his recommendation, he said he has three options. The first is to rule Washington remain in office. The second is to rule the evidence is too confusing to make a decision and declare the city hold a new election. Anderson’s final option would be for Hill to take office immediately.

A recommendation is expected to come sometime next week, but an exact date has not been announced.