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Cherokee officials arrested for making false statements

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Courtesy: Cherokee County Jail Courtesy: Cherokee County Jail
The Painted Pig in Canton The Painted Pig in Canton

Three Cherokee County officials are facing charges of making false statements.

Canton Police issued arrest warrants for school board member Kelly Marlow, political advisor Robert Trim and Cherokee County Republican Party secretary Barbara Knowles.

Marlow and Trim turned themselves into the Cherokee County Jail on Saturday morning while Knowles turned herself in on Sunday.

Police say that in June, Knowles filed a police report that the three had almost been struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in front of the Painted Pig Tavern in Canton.

Knowles identified the driver of the vehicle as Cherokee County Superintendent Frank R. Petruzielo.

Detectives have since determined that the group provided false statements to police.

Tony Morgese, a defense attorney for three accused, said that they will fight the charges.

"I mean, we are going to prepare to go all the way to trial. We will let the citizens of Cherokee County decide it," said Morgese.

The attorney said the charges came as a surprise.

"My clients are in shock that they are bringing these charges and seldom used charges in Georgia and it's highly unusual to bring these type of charges, especially in the political environment like they are in," said Morgese.

The charges followed tension-filled board meetings on school issues.

Responding to the report filed against him, Petruzielo said, "This is a very serious allegation that has no basis in fact."

Concerned community organizers had already planned a meeting after Marlow complained to the accrediting agency SACS about the superintendent and the school board chair.

Christine Rea is part of a group called SCRAM --Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow.

"Initially we wanted her to rescind her complaint. At this time, with everything that transpired on Friday and over the weekend, my opinion is that Ms. Marlow should resign," Rea said.

The three accused have been booked and released on bond.

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