With both parties in agreement, the audio does match the transcript, the Fannin County court case, Fannin Focus v. Stubblefield, continued today with the plaintiff’s lawyer, Russell Stookey, alleging the audio has been altered.
Stookey went so far as to request an audiologist to listen to the recording. He also moved to submit depositions in court on August 25, but had to take advantage of a short break in the hearing to finalize a few depositions which were not yet fully filed. When finalized, Stookey was set to deliver several depositions including Robert Vivian, Carol Liete, Walter James Liete, Michael Earley, Justin Turner, Sheriff Dane Kirby, and David O’Connor for the Judge’s review.
As for these depositions, as they work through a few minor issues, Judge Martha Christian has allowed a few extra that were not ready at the beginning of the day. Judge Christian has stated that all evidence be put forth by end of business day on August 26 for both parties.
As Mary Beth Priest, counsel for the defendant, began speaking, she said the audio was found to be accurate and that as such, it is “the best possible evidence” for the court to consider.
Further, she began to speak to the depositions offered by the plaintiff as unreliable since none of the witnesses agreed on what happened, going on to point out such vast discrepancies that one witness said the transcript was accurate, one said that one word was missing, and another said the whole thing was wrong.
Priest further pointed out that the brief she was handed 5 minutes before the hearing was incredulous and the case as a whole had turned into a point of slandering people and accusations of crimes committed with no proof. Priest implored the court to move this case to a point for a final ruling as a cloud of suspicion is being cast over many people implicated in this case with no proof for the allegations.
Stookey responded saying all the facts in the brief were true. Though he agreed the audio he heard matched the transcripts, he attests the audio has been altered and he didn’t know what to listen for before as he heard the audio before he spoke to his witnesses. With allegations of altered audio, implications stretch to accuse a conspiracy among a Superior Court Judge, a Court Reporter, the Sheriff’s Department, and the DA’s office. The magnitude of which would certainly hold State ramifications.
Stookey insists the audio has been heard by, and concerns raised within, state level agencies such as the JQC (Judicial Qualifications Committee) and the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation).
When FYN went to the JQC’s website, we found a confidentiality notice stating,
“By Court rules, all complaints filed with the Commission are required to be kept confidential until the Commission gives notice of Formal Proceedings or until the complaint in question is otherwise resolved or closed. Confidentiality encompasses all proceedings of the Commission, including the filing of a complaint, and all information and materials, written, recorded or oral, received or developed by the Commission in the course of its work. Pursuant to this Rule, all Commission investigations are confidential and the Commission cannot confirm or deny that a complaint has been filed or that an investigation is underway. Any violation of this rule may result in a citation for contempt by the Supreme Court.”
Due to this notice, it is not possible, at this time, to confirm that the JQC is involved or if any investigation is under way.
In the latter portion of the hearing, both attorneys and the Judge removed themselves to a private room to, once more, listen to the audio. However, this time, both Mark Thomason and Rhonda Stubblefield were allowed to listen in as well.
Moving forward, Judge Christian will now deliberate on the evidence, depositions, and audio. She has made it understood, the next time this case convenes, it will be to hear a ruling.