Michael Williams was indicted by a grand jury on charges including insurance fraud and filing a false police report
Georgia state senator Michael Williams reported to jail on Wednesday after being indicted by a grand jury on charges that included insurance fraud and filing a false police report.
The Forsyth county Republican drew national attention earlier this year when his failed gubernatorial campaign toured the state in a “deportation bus” which featured graphics reading “Follow me to Mexico” and “Danger: Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molestors [sic] and other criminals on board”.
Williams is accused of lying to investigators and filing a false insurance claim related to a reported May break-in at his campaign office. The campaign had said at the time that $300,000 worth of cryptocurrency mining equipment was taken in the burglary.
Williams’s attorney said his client is innocent. “An indictment is not evidence of anything, it is a one-sided story presented to a group of people [a grand jury] with the accused being unable to respond,” said AJ Richman in a statement. Williams was released on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday afternoon.
Williams’s former campaign manager, Seth Weathers, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that the allegations are a “political witch-hunt”.
The self-proclaimed “fearless conservative” Williams said he planned to “fill this bus with illegals and send them back to where they came from”. This was a lie, as such an undertaking would have been illegal and blatantly unconstitutional. The bus tour eventually petered out after the vehicle broke down, and when events were met with more protesters than supporters.
The bus stunt was part of a broader anti-immigrant tone that resonated throughout the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary. Brian Kemp, who won the primary and eventually the general election against Stacey Abrams, boasted in a campaign ad: “I’ve got a big truck in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself.”
Williams finished fifth in the gubernatorial primary with less than 5% of the vote. He will leave the state senate on 14 January, where his seat will be taken by the incoming Republican Greg Dolezal.