A former Murray County, Georgia, judge has been sentenced to five years in jail for a number of offenses, including framing a woman on drugs charges after she rejected his sexual advances.
Bryant Cochran,45, met Angela Garmley in 2012 during an assault case in which Garmley was the victim. The court heard that he offered to rule in her favor in exchange for sex, saying that he needed a mistress, Daily Mail reported.
After Garmley turned Cochran down, he arranged to have drugs placed in her car and for officers to arrest her. The plot was exposed when police video footage showed one of the officers involved in the arrest receiving a tip from Cochran about where the drugs would be.
Cochran was also found guilty of sexually harassing a female employee, illegally searching through a woman’s phone, and asking a childhood friend to give false testimony on his behalf, reports Times Free Press.
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At the trial, prosecutors relied on circumstantial evidence to convict Cochran.
“I think the jury recognized through Cochran's course of conduct that he was guilty as charged,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Davis said. “I think they were able to make all the connections that we put forward.”
Virginia Rector, Cochran’s former clerk, told the court she feared working for him and he had harassed her for years.
“He had a lot of friends in the county,” she testified on Dec. 3, 2014, explaining her reason for not reporting Cochran’s harassment. “I would get fired and nobody would know. It's not right. It's not fair.”
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Cochran’s attorney sought to discredit Rector’s testimony, but the judge refused to allow witnesses to testify on the woman’s sexual past because she was not the one on trial.
Two of Cochran’s co-conspirators, Clifford Joyce and Joshua Greeson, were also convicted in separate trials for their part in framing Garmley. Joyce placed the drugs in her car, while Greeson was the police officer who stopped her and took directions from Cochran.