Sentencing for former Warner Robins councilman set for Thursday

WARNER ROBINS -- Former Warner Robins City Councilman John Williams is expected back in federal court Thursday morning to face sentencing for extortion and related convictions.

In April, a federal jury found Williams, 73, guilty of using his position on council to get a $1,720 kickback from the sale of a $21,000 truck to the Warner Robins Police Department. The sale was halted, and Williams gave the money back to the car salesman. He was defeated in the November election.

He was convicted of extortion under the color of official right, making false statements to FBI agents and tampering with a witness.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Marc Treadwell. Treadwell presided over the three-day trial.

The extortion and tampering convictions each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the false statements conviction carries up to five years.

Williams has been free on $20,000 bond pending sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Michael Moore has said he believes the convictions merit some sort of jail time, but he noted that will be up to the judge based on federal sentencing guidelines and Williams’ history.

Tina Hunt, an assistant federal defender representing Williams, declined to comment Wednesday.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559