Ex-Warner Robins councilman Williams begins prison term

Former Warner Robins City Councilman John Williams will remain in custody after his bond was revoked by a federal judge and his attorney waived his right to a hearing on the revocation.

Williams, 73, handcuffed and wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, agreed Tuesday to start his 14-month prison term for extortion and related convictions.

He is expected to be placed in a local facility by the U.S. Marshals Service until the Federal Bureau of Prisons determines where Williams will serve his sentence.

Williams had been booked into the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center Monday evening under an order by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell.

A hearing on the bond revocation was scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday in federal court in Macon at the request of Tina Hunt, a federal attorney appointed for Williams. Hunt, prosecutor Paul McCommon and other attorneys met with Treadwell for about 10 minutes.

Afterward, Treadwell explained from the bench that he revoked Williams’ bond after learning Williams had attempted to make contact with “someone who had an association or relationship” to a grand juror. The details of the incident were not disclosed in open court.

The judge noted he takes seriously “even the remotest threat to a jury or grand jury.”

Treadwell had admonished Williams upon sentencing last week that the slightest infraction would place his bond in jeopardy. Treadwell had allowed Williams to remain free on a $20,000 bond until federal authorities determined the facility he would serve in. That process usually takes about four to six weeks.

Hunt told the judge that Williams was in agreement that he should immediately begin his sentence and that there was no need for a hearing. McCommon was in agreement, and the judge ordered Williams to remain in custody and start his sentence. Hunt declined comment afterward.

U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said afterward that the incident was related to Williams’ case and may have been perceived as a threat. Moore declined to elaborate.

Williams’ wife and daughter sat in the front row of the audience section of the courtroom. Earlier, when attorneys were behind closed doors with Treadwell and Williams remained seated in the jury section of the courtroom, a U.S. marshal warned Williams’ wife Elna Williams not to attempt to contact him or she would be escorted from the courtroom. She told the marshal, “OK, OK,” after saying she only wanted to know if Williams was all right.

Williams earlier had winked at his wife and waved at his daughter when both entered the courtroom.

Williams was sentenced Thursday to 14 months in prison for extortion, making false statements to the FBI and tampering with a witness related to using his position to get a $1,720 kickback on the sale of a truck to the police department.

The sale was halted, and Williams gave the money back to the car salesman after he was questioned by FBI agents who were investigating him.Williams is expected to appeal the convictions that were the result of a jury trial in April.

Telegraph writer Liz Fabian contributed to this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.