Commissioner Newsome files assault conviction appeal at last moment
Dothan city commissioner Amos Newsome filed appeal papers Monday—the final day he could do so-- seeking to overthrow his misdemeanor assault conviction.
Newsome was found guilty April 11 of striking veteran journalist Ken Curtis following an October 6 city commission meeting. Curtis, the senior reporter at WTVY, suffered minor contusions and abrasions.
Trussville Municipal Judge Carl Chamblee found Newsome guilty after hearing about two hours of testimony and viewing a videotape of the attack that occurred near Newsome’s vehicle. The tape shows Curtis attempting to question Newsome about illegal absentee votes that led to the commissioner’s 2013 re-election.
Chamblee heard the case because Dothan judge Rose Gordon recused herself.
When Curtis asked Newsome if he would step down after the commissioner’s longtime girlfriend was convicted of voter fraud, Newsome struck Curtis in a clawing fashion telling him to “get.”
The commissioner testified that Curtis blocked his path and indicated that he was afraid of Curtis because he “smelled of alcohol.” The claim was unsubstantiated and testimony was that Curtis underwent a substance test as part of WTVY’s wellness program.
WTVY reporter Madeleine Hackett testified that she had worked alongside Curtis for nearly a year and never knew him to consume alcohol.
In his verdict, Chamblee told Newsome, “You got angry and you lost it. When you put on that public servant hat the public has a right to know about your comings and goings as a public official.”
When the case reaches circuit court---and that could be a year or longer---it will be heard by a 12-member jury.
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