Newton speaks out against Clayton sheriff

A motion hearing for a former Clayton County sheriff's spokesman, Tuesday morning, was continued until February, but Jonathan Newton had plenty to say about his pending criminal case.

Newton served as a spokesman for former sheriff, Victor Hill, who was defeated for re-election in 2008. In May, a secret grand jury returned a 12-count indictment, against Newton, outlining an alleged pattern of theft and forgery. The charges involve Newton's work on "The Star," a newsletter published during Hill's administration.

The indictment alleges that Newton stole thousands of the county taxpayers' money in connection with the publication of that newsletter. Prosecutors allege that Newton took layout pages to the printer, Advantage Fulfillment Services Inc., and got an e-mailed invoice in return. Prosecutors said Newton then altered the invoice for more money and turned in that higher invoice. He is alleged to have taken the county's check reflecting the higher amount to the printer and asked for a refund check for the difference.

The last count of the indictment alleges that Newton accepted a county salary while also working the polls during the 2008 re-election campaign for Hill, and while working on Hill's autobiography.

Hill was indicted last week on 37 felony counts, including charges related to the allegations against Newton. Both men are out on bond and maintain their innocence. Hill, who has talked about running again for sheriff since 2008, said he will continue his campaign while waiting for his case to be resolved.

Newton said he has been unable to find work since his indictment. He said, Tuesday, that he turned over evidence against Hill in 2008. He denied that the work he did under Hill was criminal in nature.

"I submitted the tapes and a computer to Clayton authorities in November 2008, along with my allegations against Hill," said Newton. "Anyone can hear that I am not complicit with [former] sheriff Hill in his criminal actions."

When Sheriff Kem Kimbrough took office in 2009, he took possession of the tapes and computer, said Newton. "Sheriff Kimbrough is on television touting that he 'put the pieces together' in the matter against Victor Hill," Newton said. "When, in fact, many of the allegations, backed by the evidence I submitted, were given to authorities in November 2008. I believe Sheriff Kimbrough withheld those items from the DA's office, prior to my indictment."

Newton said Kimbrough moved forward when he did, in order to manipulate this year's sheriff's race, a charge Kimbrough has repeatedly denied. "Sheriff Kem Kimbrough's investigation of me was motivated by other factors than justice and truth," said Newton.

Newton said he thinks Kimbrough's actions should be investigated. "When this matter is completely aired out in a court of law, and a thorough investigation of Sheriff Kimbrough is done by an outside law enforcement agency, the citizens of Clayton County will know that Sheriff Kimbrough is just as corrupt as Victor Hill," he said.

Kimbrough declined to comment on Newton's allegations, referring questions to the Clayton County District Attorney's Office. Executive Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco also declined to comment, citing the pending criminal case against Newton.