Just got a call from Alan Bean saying Coleman was found guilty of the perjury charge concerning when he knew he was charged with stealing gas in Cochran County, but not guilty concerning the charge of stealing gas then lying about it.(New: AP story is here.)
There were some ambiguities about the gas theft. And Coleman, like those he accused, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Unlike those he accused, he got it. ...
The trial has just gone into the penalty phase. I'm sure you'll hear about it tomorrow.
I'm sure we will! That's GREAT news! I wish I were in Tulia tonight to celebrate with my friends. But instead let me offer the Tulia-drug-sting victims, Tulia Friends of Justice and the special prosecutors team my hearty congratulations. This is a victory, years in the making, in which dozens, probably hundreds played a hand at different points in time. For some, like Nate Blakeslee, Alan Bean and Gary Gardner, pointing out Tom Coleman's lies has almost become its own cottage industry (it will have done so officially if Alan and Nate ever publish their respective books!).
What amazing, wonderful news.
Note to screenwriter Karen Croner: Jennifer Klar, a member of the Tulia defendants' legal team, came on board with the special prosecutors team for the Coleman perjury trial. A Coleman guilty-of-perjury verdict would make a great storybook ending to the upcoming movie about the Tulia case featuring Halle Berry.
IMMEDIATE UPDATE: Note to self, don't count chickens. Let's see what the punishment phase brings. It's just so seldom a police officer would be found guilty of "testilying," I found myself elated at the overcome odds. If there's no prison time attached, though, it still won't feel very satisfying. Still, a conviction is very good news.