The Marietta man facing felony charges in connection with the Columbus Parks and Recreation investigation has asked a Superior Court judge to include him in a Friday preliminary hearing to lay out the charges.
William Fox, director of basketball operations for the nonprofit East Marietta Basketball Inc., filed the motion Tuesday with Judge John Allen. Fox is represented by Columbus attorney Frank Martin. Martin declined to comment on the motion Tuesday.
Fox along with former Parks and Recreation Director Tony Adams and Adams’ subordinate Herman Porter were arrested on charges of misappropriating more than $200,000 involving the Nike-sponsored Georgia Blazers, an elite Parks and Rec travel basketball team that Adams coached.
The preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. Thursday in Allen’s court. Such hearings usually are held within 72 hours of an arrest. Adams and Porter were arrested Aug. 24. Fox was arrested on Sept. 13.
During an Oct. 1 hearing in front of Allen, attorneys for Adams and Porter argued for the preliminary hearing, though the defendants initially waived such a hearing following their arrests. Allen granted the request.
At Friday’s hearing, the prosecution will present evidence — as little or as much as deemed needed — to show authorities have enough evidence to pursue the felony cases against Adams and Porter. A preliminary hearing determines whether probable cause exists to indicate a crime has been committed. Allen has warned attorneys Friday’s hearing will be “strictly controlled.”
All three defendants have asserted their innocence. The case has not been presented to the grand jury, prosecutors said.
Atlanta criminal defense attorney Manny Arora, representing Porter, questioned whether his client committed a crime: “I don’t necessarily know if there is a crime here,” Arora said Oct. 1. “It is important to put $5 up front to save $100 on the back end.”
Adams, Porter and Fox all face the felony charge of conspiracy to defraud a state or political subdivision.
Shevon Sutcliffe Thomas, who is representing Adams, also questioned the charges during the Oct. 1 hearing.
“What the hell is conspiracy to circumvent a political subdivision?” Thomas asked.
According to the law, a person commits the offense of conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision when he conspires or agrees with another to commit theft of any property which belongs to a political subdivision or to any agency thereof or which is under the control or possession of an officer or employee of a political subdivision in his official capacity.