Former School Board member Kelly Trim, political consultant Robert Trim and former Cherokee GOP secretary Barbara Knowles were convicted in April of felonies for making false statements and sentenced to 60 days in jail with 10 years of probation, but Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea granted all three bond pending appeals.
Knowles, Kelly Trim and Robert Trim will be required to pay $10,000 bond for each felony conviction they received, according to the ruling.
“The remaining conditions all remain pending appeal, but they don’t have to report to jail or perform their community service until the appeal is complete,” said Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale.
All other conditions of the trio’s probation will continue, including, but not limited to: no contact with witnesses in the case; remaining 500 yards away from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo; not attending school board meetings; not seeking or accepting any leadership role for political groups; or offering service of any kind to a political organization.
The charges stem from an incident in June 2013 when the three told Canton Police Petruzielo almost ran them over outside of a tavern in downtown Canton after a heated school board meeting.
They were arrested in July 2013 on charges of making false statements, and all three were found guilty April 26 of multiple felonies for lying to the police.
Kelly Marlow and Robert Trim were married less than a week after their sentencing.
Following their convictions, Kelly Trim resigned from her District 1 seat on the Cherokee School Board, Robert Trim resigned from his post as a precinct chairman in the local Republican Party and Knowles resigned from her position as secretary for the local Republican Party.
At the hearing Friday, Kelly Trim’s attorney Brian Steel told McElyea there was no risk or harm in granting the bond pending appeal for Kelly Trim.
Steel said he’s “trying to get this appeal underway,” but noted it would be about three or four months before the full transcript from the hearing would be completed, and therefore, the appeal hearing could not be scheduled before then.
Carnesale said all three have “met the filing deadlines” to go forward with the appeal process.
“The first phase of an appeal is the motion for new trial, and Judge McElyea will hear that. Thereafter, there is a direct appeal and that goes to the Georgia Court of Appeals,” she explained.
Carnesale added no date had been set yet for McElyea to hear the motion for a new trial for the three defendants and said the trial transcript will have to be completed first.
Steel said there was no substantial risk of Kelly Trim fleeing, adding no “reasonable person” would believe she would flee since she had shown up on time for all previous proce-edings.
Steel further added that Kelly and Robert Trim live together locally, so they were not a risk for fleeing.
Kelly Trim is not a danger to the community and has no prior offenses, Steel said, adding there was an “absence of any evidence to the contrary.”
Robert Trim’s attorney Michael Dupont agreed, adding the Trims now lived in a house in Kennesaw, so they were not a risk for fleeing the jurisdiction and could not cause a danger to the community.
Knowles’ attorney, Noah Pines, similarly said his client was not a risk for fleeing or to the community, adding that Knowles had already completed hundreds of hours of community service.
Carnesale said the defendants already benefited from the court’s “mercy and grace” by being given the choice of when, in the first year of their sentences, they chose to serve their jail time.
Also on Thursday, McElyea denied a motion filed by Robert Trim’s attorney asking she recuse herself as the judge in the case.
McElyea said not only was the motion not filed in a timely manner, but the statements made in the motion were “inaccurate.”
Carnesale confirmed McElyea “filed a six-page order on the motion” Thursday, when the motion was denied.
“There are portions of Trim’s affidavit which are clearly legally insufficient,” McElyea wrote in her order Thursday.