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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2004

U. S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia
75 Spring Street, S.W. - Suite 600
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Tel: 404-581-6000
Fax: 404-581-6181

Former Manager of Linda Schrenko Campaign Pleads Guilty to Attempted Witness Tampering

David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Lester Fernandez, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Education, Office of Inspector General; and Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announce that RICHARD LEONARD, 43, of Augusta, Georgia, entered a plea of guilty today before United States District Judge Clarence Cooper. LEONARD pleaded guilty to a one count criminal information charging him with attempted witness tampering in an effort to dissuade an individual from providing truthful information to federal law enforcement agents regarding the source of cash contributions to the gubernatorial campaign of Linda Schrenko in 2002. According to U.S. Attorney Nahmias and the information presented during the plea hearing:

LEONARD, the former manager of Linda Schrenko's 2002 gubernatorial campaign, has pleaded guilty to attempting to harass one of the individuals whom Leonard previously had recruited to cash "focus group" checks, in the amount of $590 each, and return the proceeds from those cashed checks as contributions to the Schrenko campaign. In a recorded conversation, LEONARD requested that individual not to make any mention of the Schrenko campaign during any interview with federal investigators because that would advance the investigation of sources of funds for the Schrenko campaign. LEONARD repeatedly urged that individual to falsely state to federal investigators that the individual had been paid for participating in a focus group. In fact, claiming that the $590 checks were payments for "focus group" participation was a fabrication and no focus group ever was held. The defendant is cooperating in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Russell G. Vineyard and Daniel A. Caldwell are prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney, or F. Gentry Shelnutt, Chief, Criminal Division, at (404) 581-6065. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.usdoj.gov/usao/gan


 
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Last Modified: 03/02/2005