AUGUSTA (WJBF) – The Georgia Supreme court has decided that former Augusta District Attorney Natalie Paine was not found of any wrongdoing in a 2017 murder case.

The State Disciplinary Board filed a grievance in 2022 alleging that Paine violated Rules of conduct.

She was accused of having recorded conversations between the defendants and their lawyers in the 2017 case of State of Georgia v. William Krepps, Vaughn Austin Verdi, and Emily Stephens in the murder of Preston Overton. She was also accused of interviewing suspects without counsel present.

A Special Master held an evidentiary hearing and found that the State failed to prove Paine had violated any rules and recommended no discipline be imposed.

After Paine discovered that privileged attorney-client conversations had been recorded, she demanded that a new recording system be installed to prevent that from happening again, and she spent $40,000 of the DA’s budget for the new system.

Paine is currently the Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Columbia County Judicial Circuit. she released this statement to NewsChannel 6:

I have always believed in our system and although many times during this 5 year ordeal I was discouraged by the actions of the State Bar, I had faith that the truth would prevail. The opinion handed down by the Georgia Supreme Court today affirms my beliefs that they decide cases on the merits rather than politically motivated influences. I hope the State Bar will be discouraged in the future from allowing partisan politics to influence their important duties.

I am so incredibly thankful for my attorney, Brian Steel, who fought incessantly for me.  He will never know how much I appreciate his unwavering efforts and support.

Natalie Paine, Chief Assistant District Attorney, Columbia County Judicial Circuit