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Mar. 20 – Atty. Claiborne pulls subpoena for Alderman Van Johnson, after Johnson gets Emergency Hearing in Superior Court

Category: Law

by Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

March 20, 2017 – No sooner had Superior Court Judge Louisa Abbot agreed to hold an emergency hearing Tuesday morning on a motion brought on behalf of Alderman Van Johnson to quash a subpoena for information - part of a long list of subpoena’s filled by Atty.  Wiliam R. Claiborne two weeks ago - than Atty. Clairborne backed down, and notified the Court today that he was pulling the subpoena seeking 10 years of Johnson's personal cell phone records.  

Atty. Claiborne of The Clairborne Group, Savannah. filed a long list of subpoena requests two weeks ago relative to various individuals alleged to have information about how his clients allege they were financially harmed when employees of the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Dept.  Three former officers, working during the tenure of former police Chief Willie Lovett, allege they were passed over for promotion, and other matters. 

Alderman Johnson reacted swiftly two weeks ago, stating that he had nothing to do with the Lovett case, and that neither his name nor his cell phone number had ever been mentioned in any of the legal documents that resulted from a multi-year investigation by the FBI, and indictment of Lovett by the U.S. Justice Dept, nor was there any mention of his involvement in decisions surrounding Lovett’s retirement.   Lovett is now serving a Federal sentence in a West Virginia prison. 

Two weeks ago, Clairborne filed a motion for 10 years of personal cell phone records of Alderman Johnson from the Sprint Corporation.  Johnson is represented by the City of Savannah.

At the same time, Atty. Clairborne was involved in a contentious series of hearings before the Savannah City Council, seeking a liquor license for a business client, a business located on West Bay Street in District 1, represented by Johnson.  Alderman Johnson had led the charge against the license that was initially denied.  

Atty. Clairborne then notified the City that he intended to sue for $6 million on behalf of Charles Schmitt, owner of The Stage on Bay, for alleged damages.  The City Council then rescinded their decision, and granted Schmitt a liquor license for the entertainment venue.

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