Sammie Sias’ Counsel Given Second Extension of Time for Filing Pre-trial Motions

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The deadline for pre-trial motions in United States of America v. Sammie Lee Sias is now set for January 18, 2022, a two-month delay unopposed by federal prosecutions.

This is the second time that Sias’ legal team has asked for and been granted an extension, following the judge’s order that pretrial motions would need to be filed within 14 days of Sias’ initial court appearance for arraignment August 4, 2021, where Sias upheld with innocence with a plea of not guilty.

The federal charges against the suspended Augusta Richmond County commissioner for District 4 include Destruction, Alteration, or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations and False Statement or Representation Made to a Department or Agency of the United States.

It is alleged by federal investigators that in the days surrounding August 5, 2019, Sias altered and destroyed digital files containing invoices, spreadsheets, work orders, payments, agendas, minutes, financial reports and other documents concerning Jamestown Community Center, which belonged to Sandridge Community Association and were targeted in a grand jury investigation.

The United States Government is partially basing its investigation on more than 600 gigabytes of data that’s been provided to Sias and his lawyers.

In August, Sias’ legal team filed its first motion to extend the filing deadline for pre-trial motions, stating that they would need a significant amount of time to analyze the data” to determine if any pre-trial motions were warranted or whether forensic examination needed to be completed.

A panel appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recommended Sias’ suspension based on their finding that Sias’ indictment adversely affected the administration of the elected office of a Commissioner. Gov. Kemp subsequently ordered Sais’ suspension August 30th.

In the new filing for an extension, Sias’ lawyers stated that the computer files presented by the government in this case would require expert forensic examination.

The most recent movement in this case was on October 8th, when the Southern District of Georgia Court granted Sias a modification to his travel restrictions while out on bond, allowing him to travel in the Middle District of Georgia for the purpose of family members in Cordele, which is roughly three hours away. Before that court order, due to the conditions of his bond, Sias could travel to the Florida border, but not to Cordele. While Sias does not have to obtain permission for individual trips to the Middle District of Georgia, he does have to gain approval by his pre-trial services officer.

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