The long saga concerning legal issues surrounding DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer took a new turn this week after an attorney acting on Kramer’s behalf accused Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter of prosecutorial misconduct. However, the county’s top prosecutor asserted the accusations are false.
The group Voter GA announced Monday that attorney Steven Reba filed the prosecutorial misconduct motion against Porter last week in an effort to get the district attorney recused from any cases against Kramer, who has not had any affiliation with DragonCon in several years. There are three cases listed on the motion, two of which involve indictments handed down by a grand jury last week.
The motion is in response to a new sexual exploitation of children indictment against Kramer from earlier this month. Kramer’s attorney is alleging Porter misled a grand jury into indicting Kramer.
“(The) actions of a prosecutor who understands no bounds to his power ... cannot stand,” Reba wrote in the motion.
On Monday, Porter, in response to the motion and Voter GA’s press release, vehemently denied the accusations made against him.
“His entire motion is completely without merit and we will respond to it at the appropriate time,” Porter said.
Officially, the inciting issue that Kramer’s attorney and supporters point to as the reason for the motion against Porter is the sexual exploitation indictment, which is dated Oct. 9.
“The motion stems from a Porter’s pornography charge against Kramer for having a group of pictures taken by photographer Sally Mann on his computer,” Voter GA’s Garland Favorito said in a press release. “Those downloadable pictures are copyrighted from a book Mann published with photos of her immediate family. Although they may be considered unusual, they have no sexual activity and are not pornographic under Georgia or federal law.”
Porter disputes that claim. The photo shows the genitalia of a naked pre-pubescent boy, according to the indictment.
“That fact that an image has been published is not in and of itself controlling on whether or not it’s child pornography,”Porter said. “It’s a question for the jury, and we’ll leave that question to the jury when the case goes to trial.”
The prosecutor also denied there was any manipulation of the grand jury. Kramer was already in jail on other charges related to accessing the county’s computer network.
“The whole thing about manipulating a grand jury — we routinely, particularly in a situation where, if we had a preliminary hearing and it’s dismissed, we still could have presented the case to the grand jury,” Porter said. “In this case, with him in custody, there was no reason to have a preliminary hearing and even if this speculation that he was going to succeed was true, we still could have presented the case to the grand jury and he would have been re-arrested.”
Although that indictment is listed as the reason for the motion, there are several other complicated layers of issues looming over this matter. One of them is another indictment, for making false statement, that was handed against Kramer on the same day as the sexual exploitation charge.
Kramer had accused Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Lou Solis of physically assaulting him, but Porter said video evidence contradicted that claim. That led to the false statements charge, which Porter said he did not know about until the Sheriff’s Office sought a warrant for Kramer’s arrest. That is one of the cases Reba is trying to get Porter recused from.
Some of the looming layers did made their way into motion to get Porter recused.
Perhaps the most high profile matter is the ongoing saga including Porter, Kramer, Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, private investigator T.J. Ward and a computer expert working for Ward named Frank Karic. It is brought up multiple times in the motion to get Porter recused.
Schrader hired Ward because she believed Porter was hacking her computer — although it is not clear why she believed that. Ward brought in Karic, who in turn brought in Kramer, who allegedly gained access to the county’s computer network through a Sharktap monitor that Karic placed on Schrader’s computer.
Schrader’s belief that Porter was hacking her computer is used by Kramer’s attorney as an example of why the legal team thinks the DA should be recused, claiming “the allegation is entirely consistent with Porter’s abuses of power and prosecutorial misconduct.”
Porter has denied hacking into the computer and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the access Ward, Karic and Kramer gained to the county’s computer system. Reba wants an outside agency to investigate Schrader’s accusation against Porter, however.
Porter has recused his office from handling that case, which is being prosecuted by the Prosecuting Attorneys Council.
But Reba said Porter appeared at a bond hearing in the case on Sept. 30 and “effectively co-counseled the case with special prosecutor Regan, sitting in the front row and providing information to the court on numerous occasions in an attempt to prevent a bond from being granted.”
Porter said he was not co-counseling the case.
“The characterization that I acted as co-counsel at the bond hearing is just — it’s a lie,” Porter said. “It’s not true. It’s a false filing by the attorney. I provided procedural information to a visiting judge about the sequence of events that has historically happened with Kramer and then the procedures at our court about court production orders and delivery of prisoners to court and those types of things.
“I offered assistance and the transcript is going to bear me out on that.”