Gilliams, Parris sentencing postponed


Sentencing for former Sebastian City Council members Damien Gilliams and Pamela Rapp Parris was postponed after Gilliams filed a motion to have the judge removed from the case.

The sentencing was originally set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, court records show. Gilliams and Parris were both convicted last month on charges that stem from an April 22, 2020 city hall meeting described by prosecutors as illegal.

Prosecutors said the public was not notified of the meeting. Prosecutors also said Gilliams, Parris, and former Vice-Mayor Charles Mauti locked the doors behind them before holding the meeting.

Gilliams and Parris were both charged with perjury and violation of the Sunshine Law last year. The two were tried together in May by a six-person jury.

The jury found Gilliams guilty on three counts of violation of the Sunshine Law and one count of perjury. Parris was convicted on one count of violation of the Sunshine Law and two counts of perjury.

Gilliams filed a motion last week to have Circuit Court Judge Michael Linn removed from the case. In the motion, Gilliams claimed that Linn’s spouse was employed by the 19th Circuit Office of the State Attorney until April 15, a month before the criminal trial.

Gilliams claimed that Linn did not disclose his spouse worked for the state attorney’s office. He also said he feared he did not receive a fair trial because of prejudice or bias from Linn.

Prosecutors, however, said Linn’s spouse has no connection to the case. Linn denied Gilliams’ request, saying the motion doesn’t support Gilliams’ claim that Linn would be biased.

In response, Gilliams’ submitted a writ appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal last Thursday, court records show. The Fourth District Court of Appeal will either grant or deny Gilliams’ request in about two weeks, prosecutors said.

If the court grants Gilliams’ request, he will need to be sentenced by another judge. The new sentencing date has not been set.

Court records also show Parris’ defense attorney filed a motion June 5 for a new trial.

Gilliams and Parris both were released May 27 from the Indian River County Jail. Gilliams was released on $225,000 bond while Parris was released on $25,000 bond.

The maximum penalty for each count of violation of the Sunshine Law is 60 days, prosecutors said. The maximum penalty for the perjury charges are one year.

Gilliams and Parris were both due in court July 19 for a motion hearing.


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