The eight men arrested in the Atlanta Police Department’s Sept. 10 raid at the Eagle were told Tuesday to return to court again next month if the cases against them aren’t resolved.
Municipal Court Judge Crystal Gaines told four of the eight men, who were in court Tuesday morning, to return Nov. 3 to enter a plea if the prosecutor and attorneys do not resolve the cases.
The raid resulted in eight arrests, two protests, calls from elected officials and political candidates for an investigation into police tactics and a public flap over grand marshals for the upcoming Pride parade.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Four of the eight defendants were in court Tuesday morning for a status conference on the case, which has drawn criticism from Atlanta’s gay community.
If the prosecutor and defense attorney do not resolve the case before one co-owner, four dancers and three other employees enter a not guilty plea in November, a trial will be set for early January.
The four Eagle employees arrested in the raid—co-owner Robert Kelley and employees Chris Lopez, David Shephard and Ernest Buehl—appeared in court Tuesday; the other four men, who were dancers at time of their arrest, were not required to attend the proceeding, attorney Alan Begner tells Southern Voice.
Mary Stansel, who is prosecuting the case for the Atlanta solicitor’s office, asked for the arraignment to be reset. Judge Crystal Gaines agreed, while expressing her displeasure that this is the second time the arraignment has been put off. The Eagle employees first appeared in court the week after the raid, when their case was delayed until today.
Kelley, Lopez, Shephard and Buehl face charges of operating a business without a license. Shephard was also charged under a code related to an employer being required to maintain a current permit. Kelley was also cited under management being required to keep a permit.
The four dancers — Leandro Apud, Anitonio Benitez, Thdareius Johnson and Robert Kline — were charged with providing adult entertainment without a license.
Begner tells the AJC that if the cases proceed to trial, he may call as many as 60 witnesses.