Defendants Go on Trial for Invasion of Privacy

As written in the (Carroll County, GA) Times-Free Press


The trial of four defendants, charged with unlawful eavesdropping and surveillance, or invasion of privacy, began Monday morning at 9 a.m. at the Carroll County courthouse.

The defendants are: Dr. Jack Birge, represented by Al Horn and Jim Jenkins of Atlanta and Doug Vassy of Carrollton; Barbara Almon, represented by Glenn Zell of Atlanta; and Reginald Max Goldsmith and Dennis George Key, represented by Ed Marger, also of Atlanta.

The courtroom was filled to near capacity as the trial began on an overcast day, which had developed into a steady rain when proceedings recessed for lunch around 1:15.

City Councilman Dan Williamson and Special GBI Agent Tom Goddard were the only ones to testify before the recess.

The case was called at 8 a.m. last Friday and Marger immediately asked for a change of venue because of what he termed a "carnival like atmosphere" created by pre-trial publicity. He exhibited the front page of last week's Carroll County Georgian, which covered extensively Dr. Birge's first trial and conviction; and he played a tape recording of portions of a newscast broadcast last Wednesday by Channel 5. During the course of the newscast, a picture of Ms. Almon and of the room at Holiday Inn in Bremen, where the state contends the eavesdropping and surveillance took place, were shown.

Marger also presented a motion for severance, asking that the defendants be tried separately. Judge Lamar Knight overruled both motions.

Forty-two prospective jurors were subjected to extensive questioning by the three sets of attorneys throughout the day. Around 6 p.m., questioning of the panel was completed and a jury of five women and seven men was chosen to hear the case.

After Goddard and Williamson gave testimony under direct and cross examination, court recessed until 2:30 Monday afternoon. Coverage of the testimony will be published in Thursday's paper.