Leonard testimony wraps up

By: Laurie Ott
By: Laurie Ott

Richard Leonard is the former campaign manager for Schrenko's bid for governor. He completed his testimony Tuesday.

Leonard testified he ran Schrenko's gubernatorial campaign out of his little townhouse on Monte Sano Avenue in Augusta.

He also detailed what happened at a meeting in northern Atlanta in June of 2002.

Leonard testified he attended a June 2002 meeting at CCSC--the company owned by Schrenko co-defendant Stephan Botes--along with Schrenko, Temple, and co-defendant Peter Steyn.

During that meeting, Leonard testified, Schrenko and Botes got to know each other better, each talking about their backgrounds. Schrenko explained why she was running for governor, and Botes told Schrenko about a software product he wanted to sell.

Leonard testified Schrenko smiled and said it might be good for the Governor's Honors Program, and that she wanted to present the program with the software as a present in the next few weeks.

This is the software the state auditor says was never delivered.

Leonard also testified concerning the $590 checks drawn up by Johnny Turner.

According to prosecutors, 100% of the money sent out in those checks ended up back in the campaign account.

Leonard testified Tuesday that Schrenko co-defendant Merle Temple kept a complete accounting of where all that money went.

Leonard testified he drove the checks around Augusta to family and friends and filled in their names, saying he used his nieces and nephews; brothers; sister-in-law; Jim Cox, who'd gotten the media contract to buy all the campaign ads; Leonard's former girlfriend, Rebecca Pugh; a former News 12 employee; and others.

He testified that in all cases the money came back to the campaign, either in checks or in cash donations.

Leonard also testified he signed a confidentiality agreement, saying he would notify the campaign if he was subpoenaed for documents or to testify.

He testified he was replaced by Merle Temple around the end of June/early July, and that he became the press secretary for the campaign.

Leonard also said when Temple called in the fall and asked him to sign the Georgia campaign disclosure forms, he told Temple to "go to hell".

Leonard testified that after News 12's investigation into the spending aired, federal agents started asking questions, and it was then that he told John Luther to tell investigators the $590 checks he'd gotten cashed into Schrenko's campaign bank account had nothing to do with the campaign.

Leonard testified he found out the next day that conversation had been recorded when assistant US attorney Russell Vineyard played it back for him.

Leonard also testified he pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of witness tampering relating to that conversation.

According to Leonard's testimony, there were "a lot of smoke and mirrors" in the last campaign disclosure reports. He testified that an entry indicating Schrenko had $250,000 in contributions was all for show, to help the campaign seem like it was doing well when in fact it was not.

After Leonard's testimony, South African Johannes Potgieter took the stand. Potgieter testified he paid a $10,000 database system bill for the Schrenko campaign at the request of Stephan Botes, and that Botes then paid him back.

Leonard had testified that bill being paid kept the campaign alive, because the database system was important to keeping records and providing possible republican donor names.

The judge suspended the trial after Potgieter's testimony. We're told the matter relates to bond for Botes.

Prosecutors have already asked that an electronic monitoring anklet be put back on Botes, as they fear he'll flee the country.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 2772496 - wrdw.com/a?a=2772496
Gray Television, Inc.