AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — On Friday, attorneys for Sammie Sias filed a motion requesting either a judgement of acquittal or for a Court Order granting a new trial.

The main case for acquittal, or granting a new trial, according to Sias’ legal team, is based on an argument that the prosecuting attorneys for the government misconstrued witness testimony that related not to the destruction of requested files but, instead, focused on Sias’ use of SPLOST funding.

According to today’s court filing, Sias’ attorneys originally asked for an acquittal on the third day of the trial, after the prosecuting attorney for the U.S. Government rested their case – a motion denied the next day.

Insufficient evidence has been given as the chief reason that a judgment of acquittal should be rendered or a new trial granted. Sias’ attorney reference a 2015 case where it was argued that “a deletion on a computer is not actual destruction” and that deletion is not necessarily equal to concealment.

Furthermore, the defense objects to the government’s reliance witness testimony that focused on SPLOST funding and its use, which, according to Sias’ attorneys violated terms of a July 14 pre-trial conference.  

Footnotes indicate that testimony was given during the trial by Olivia Scott, former treasurer of the Sandridge Community Association, that she resigned because of issues with Sias’ using checks and money during implementation of SPLOST VI in 2014.

Only two witnesses, an FBI expert in computer forensics and an FBI Special Agent, testified directly about the August 8, 2019, search of Sias’ home. Sias’ lawyers argue that the reliance upon the SPLOST testimony and Sias’ spending habits regarding SPLOST funds unfairly prejudiced the jury by design and were “hugely misleading.”

Because there were no ‘limiting instructions’ during testimony for the prosecution, “The jury heard three days of the government’s case, where the majority of the government’s witnesses were called to testify only about SPLOST funding and where the jury was left with the impression that crimes involving SPLOST funding was a central part of the government’s case.”

The motion does state that instructions were given to the jury about the limitations of this testimony, but that these instructions were given at the end of the trial as the jury was being charged.

The filing was made on Sias’ behalf by Attorney Ken Crowder, LLP, based here in Augusta.