PANAMA CITY — Prosecutors next Thursday will make their case why defense attorneys for Greg Wilson should not be allowed to broach a variety of accusations — ranging from Wilson being targeted for political reasons to a claim he tried to recant the statement that led to his perjury charge — during his upcoming trial.
A 10-page motion filed by prosecutor Jack Campbell on Thursday asks the court to take preemptive action to stop the defense from pursuing several issues and theories that the state argues aren’t relevant to the case against Wilson, formerly the second-in-command at the State Attorney’s Office. Campbell argues they also are designed to distract jurors from the charges at hand — a felony introduction of contraband into the Bay County Jail and a misdemeanor charge of perjury.
In the meantime, court records indicate Wilson has added two Tallahassee attorneys to his legal team.
The court filings coincide with a deadline for motions as a September trial date for Wilson approaches. He is charged with helping two inmates pass “kites,” folded pieces of paper, and then lying to investigators in a cover-up attempt. Campbell basically is asking the court to prohibit Wilson’s growing legal team from introducing any arguments of evidence outside of the scope of the criminal charges.
“The State believes that, at trial, (Wilson) may attempt to introduce evidence, make reference to, argue, or otherwise infer that the jury should consider a variety of issues beyond (Wilson’s) guilt or innocence,” Campbell wrote. “All such strategies are irrelevant and should be excluded.”
Campbell goes on to ask the court to prohibit discussion of penalties Wilson would face if convicted, any allegations of political motivations and unrelated cases of misconduct at the Bay County Jail — all of which have been covered in previous hearings.
A new issue raised by Campbell refers to a “potential recantation defense” regarding sworn statements taken from Wilson as the criminal investigation developed. Campbell said the timeline of events would not support such a defense, because a recantation — where the person who gave the sworn statement comes forward, admits they weren’t truthful and gives a second statement — never occurred.
“The known testimony is that previous defense counsel, Jim White, contacted (BCSO) Major Jimmy Stanford three days after the perjured statement and after (Stanford) had informed (Wilson’s) friends that an arrest for perjury was imminent,” Campbell wrote. “Stanford discussed with Mr. White that any recantation or truthful statement concerning his passing documents within the Bay County Jail would essentially be a confession to a felony. Mr. White indicated that he would discuss the issue with his client. No other overtures or attempts to recant were ever extended.”
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However, Campbell argued that if such a defense request is granted, that White effectively would become a witness against Wilson and any privileged, attorney-client conversations then would be subject to scrutiny, which could delay the trial.
Wilson, 46, was the second-in-command at the 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Officer for seven years under Glenn Hess. As the primary elections approached in August 2016, Wilson abruptly resigned, saying Hess did not fulfill an agreement to bow out at the end of his second term and hand Wilson a shot at the office.
Wilson took on his former boss to be top prosecutor over Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties, and lost to Hess by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin, but vowed to make another run for state attorney in 2020.
It was about a year later that Wilson became the subject of a BCSO investigation at the Bay County Jail. Authorities who heard recorded calls between Wilson and an inmate that were suspicious in nature obtained legal advice from Hess and placed a video camera — without audio capability — where it could video Wilson and his clients. The video in September 2017 shows Wilson apparently assisting two inmates — sisters Clista Robbins and Christy White — pass notes, or “kites,” while meeting with him at separate times in an attorney interview room. When questioned under oath about his actions, Wilson categorically denied the allegations as “absolutely false,” but at that time he was not aware of the video.
After word circulated that his arrest was imminent, White contacted law enforcement to discuss the subject of recantation. However, Wilson later was charged with misdemeanor perjury and felony introduction of contraband into a detention facility.
White and Waylon Graham both previously represented Wilson. They have since withdrawn as his legal counsel, and Lisa Anderson and James Dowgul took over. Now, two attorneys from Ausley & McMullen Law Firm, of Tallahassee, have stepped in to assist.
James Judkins, a shareholder at the law firm, has won “Lawyer of the Year” several times in the past few years, mostly in white collar crime. Alexandra Akre, an associate at the firm, has a background in appellate courts. Neither has a history of cases in Bay County, court records indicate.
Wilson’s defense attorneys now have until Sept. 6 to prepare for the motion hearing in the case. The trial is tentatively scheduled for trial Sept. 17.