ATLANTA -- Carl "Skip" Cain's attorney called the prison sentence recommended by federal prosecutors on Tuesday "a gift."
The lighter sentence of 57 months was the direct result of Cain's work with the same investigators who had charged him with conspiring to traffic cocaine. His cooperation included covert and undercover recordings, and multiple debriefings that assisted in prosecuting codefendant John Fanning and "other matters," said U.S. Assistant District Attorney Doug Gilfillan.
Fanning's cooperation, meanwhile, was essential in charging former Gwinnett County planning commissioner Mark Gary with bribery. Gary was appointed by Fanning's mother, former county commissioner Shirley Lasseter, and is accused of paying them $30,000 in casino gambling chips for Lasseter's favorable vote on a $4 million waste transfer station, from which Gary stood to profit.
The probe, prosecutors hinted Tuesday, does not end there.
Gilfillan said Fanning "was not truthful with the government about everything" in his dealings with authorities but did provide information about "other individuals."
In asking for leniency, Fanning's attorney Bill Thomas reminded the judge that the intelligence Fanning did provide related to "significant individuals." His lies to prosecutors involved powerful people in Gwinnett, Thomas said.
"Crossing them would put (Fanning's) family in harm's way," Thomas said.
Both attorneys declined to elaborate after the sentencing hearings.
As a character witness, Fanning's brother, Justin, echoed Thomas in explain his brother's lies to prosecutors.
"He feared harm from people involved," he said.
U.S. Attorney Sally Yates condemned the actions of Fanning and Cain in selling the office of a Gwinnett commissioner to whom they thought were drug traffickers. Gilfillan noted in court that all three defendants engaged in bribery schemes before and after Danny Porter, Gwinnett District Attorney, had empaneled a special grand jury to root out corruption in Gwinnett.
"They showed a shocking indifference to prior law enforcement efforts," Yates said, "and to the dangers to the community posed by the illegal drug trade."