Former Talbotton Police Officer pleads guilty to lying to FBI

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – A former Talbotton Police Officer and the son of the former Talbot County Sheriff pleads guilty to lying to federal agents during a corruption investigation.

Michael Howard appeared in federal court this morning for his involvement in the Talbot County federal corruption scandal last year.

Prosecutors say Howard lied to the FBI about being asked by an informant posing as a drug dealer. to help transport $15,000 through the county. Howard declined to help because he wasn't in uniform at the time.

Howard faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced April 25th.

“We were satisfied going forward with this position in his best interest. He has some injuries if we had gone to trial might have been an issue about whether he was cognizant at the time he was initially approached because of the influence of the medication he was on and again he felt like it was the best to move forward and accept responsibility of the mistake he made,” defense attorney Richard Hagler says.

Two other deputies involved in the scandal, Jeff Sivell and Alvin Malone, pleaded guilty last month to one count each of extortion by a public official.

Part-time deputy Charlie Stephens pleaded guilty to corruption in December.

The Talbot county jailer, Michael Gamble, was charged by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with accepting bribes.