VALDOSTA — The defense rested its case Friday afternoon in the federal trial against former City Councilman Bunnis Williams and his wife, Alma, who are accused of wire fraud and theft from programs receiving federal funds.

After getting a late start to the morning, the prosecution continued its cross examination of Alma Williams. U.S. Attorney Jim Crane questioned her regarding Eastside Training Academy financial statements, statements Alma Williams made to Agent Bob Walters with the inspector general’s office and her acknowledgment of $40,000 of federal funds misused by ETA.

Crane also questioned Alma Williams regarding the calculation of financial distribution within the programs. A percentage method of accounting was used to determine what percentage of shared bills would be taken from each of the programs run through the Academy. Crane noted that the percentage to be billed to the FGP was originally 20 percent, but later jumped to 38 percent.

Alma Williams explained the jump by stating that the costs of the programs increased, creating a need for the program to be billed at a higher percentage for shared costs such as electricity, water and transportation.

Eastside Training Academy was opened by Alma Williams, who served as executive director, in 1989. Bunnis Williams served the Academy in a number of capacities since its inception including president, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors.

In January 2001 the Academy received more than $320,000 in federal grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service to implement and maintain the Foster Grandparent Program and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

It is alleged that approximately $44, 256 were misappropriated for personal use by the Williamses during the programs’ tenures at ETA from January 2001, until the programs were terminated in July 2002.

An additional $57,350 of the federal grant money was also allegedly misappropriated by the Williamses for other business expenses including other businesses owned by the couple, according to the federal indictment.

Johnny Graham, attorney for Alma Williams, rested his case before Roy Copeland, attorney for Bunnis Williams, recalled Jacqueline Williams to the witness stand. Jacqueline Williams, former accounting clerk for ETA, was originally called to testify by the prosecutor on Monday.

Copeland questioned Jacqueline Williams regarding the calls she made to CNCS following her termination from ETA as well as her official date of termination.

Thursday, defense witnesses Courtney Patrick and Shirley Hutchinson told the jury that on two occasions Jacqueline Williams stated to them that “She will bring Mrs. Williams down if that was the last thing she did.”

Copeland rested his case without calling Bunnis Williams to testify on his own behalf.

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