The former defendants, who performed private investigations into alleged corruption at international gun maker Glock Inc., claim they were the targets of malicious and unwarranted prosecution by former Cobb DA Pat Head.
Glock hired private investigators in 2000 to look into corruption at the company. In 2010, those investigators found themselves the target of a criminal investigation into allegations of racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, extortion, money laundering, theft and obstruction of justice.
Glock is based in Austria but its North American headquarters is in Smyrna.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney James Harper III, who ran in the 1998 election for Georgia attorney general, was one of two men hired by Glock to investigate alleged criminal activity inside the company, including the 1999 assassination attempt in Luxembourg of founder Gaston Glock.
According to a March 24 article by The Daily Report, from 2000 to 2003 Harper led a team of investigators charged with tracking down and reclaiming at least $80 million in corporate funds that Glock confidante Charles Marie Joseph Ewert had misappropriated.
As outside legal counsel, Harper, along with Atlanta attorney Jeffrey Pombert and Loganville businessman Jerry Chapman, was investigated for allegedly overbilling Glock to the tune of $3 million between 2000 and 2003.
The criminal case was spearheaded by Head, a Marietta lawyer who at the time was the Cobb district attorney.
In March 2013, newly elected Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds dismissed the charges against the three men after the state Supreme Court ruled the statute of limitations had lapsed.
All of the alleged fraudulent activity took place from 2000 to 2003, but Cobb County did not indict the men until January 2010.
Reynolds said his administration at the DA’s office inherited the case in January 2013. When Reynolds took over as the Cobb district attorney he told the county prosecutors to look at all the pending cases and decisions made by Head’s team.
“The problem that you run into when taking over from a previous administration is you take over what is there,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds, who will now rely on the state attorney general to represent the Cobb district attorney’s office in the possible lawsuit, said “it is difficult to say” if the case would be dismissed or be tied up for months in the court system.
“It comes with the territory…we will let the system work,” Reynolds said.
Prosecutors and government officials are normally immune from suits by former defendants.
“You don’t want prosecutors in a situation where they are reluctant to bring charges because they are worried about being sued,” Reynolds said.
Besides the Cobb district attorney’s office, Reynolds predicts Head will also be listed in the lawsuit.
Head said he has not been contacted about the civil case and could not comment on pending litigation.
“It is possible litigation and I can’t comment about anything,” Head said on Tuesday.