Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Streat's Indictment Hits Democrats Hard Nicholls' Senator Faces Felony Charges

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Streat's Indictment Hits Democrats Hard Nicholls' Senator Faces Felony Charges

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Senate Democrats could see their slim majority get even tighter this session after one of their own was indicted on felony corruption charges.

A grand jury in Fulton County indicted state Sen. Van Streat on Tuesday, accusing him of influencing the prison transfer of a convicted murderer and two-time prison escapee in exchange for money from the prisoner's associates.

Streat, D-Nicholls, twice helped Ronald Gaither get transferred from close-security state prisons into lower-security facilities. Streat received $4,500 in political contributions from people with ties to Gaither.

The senator has two weeks to decide whether to excuse himself from serving while the charges are pending. If he doesn't opt to sit out, Gov. Roy Barnes will appoint a three-member commission to decide whether Streat should be suspended.

News of Streat's indictment was a jolt in Douglas, which Streat represents in the Georgia Senate.

"We're good friends and hold him in high regard for his work in the Senate," Douglas Mayor Max Lockwood said. "The old saying, 'innocent until proven guilty,' is what I believe in."

Lockwood said he has received a lot of calls from concerned residents, and he has given them all the same advice.

"Let's keep our confidence in Van until sombody proves us different," Lockwood said.

Streat's chairmanship of the Senate Transportation Committee has been beneficial as local governments along U.S. 441 seek to have the highway widened to four lanes all the way from Tennessee to the Florida line. Those officials have joined the 441 Council, which Lockwood helped organize, to speed up the project, and they will meet in the Capitol next week, Lockwood said.

The indictment may have some political implications should Streat be compelled to leave office before this year's elections. When the Democrat-controlled Georgia General Assembly adopted new district maps, it placed Lyons, Republican state Sen. Tommie Williams' hometown, in Streat's Senate district. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.