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Lawyer Tries to Turn the Table on Glock

Plaintiffs allege that Glock conspired with Smyrna police to gain leverage in business dispute

, Daily Report

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Former Federal prosecutor James Harper saw a billing dispute with Glock turn into felony charges.
Former Federal prosecutor James Harper saw a billing dispute with Glock turn into felony charges.

Six months after the Cobb County district attorney dropped racketeering, theft and other charges against a former federal prosecutor, an Atlanta attorney and a Marietta businessman, the three former defendants—all with ties to gun manufacturer Glock Inc.—have notified the city of Smyrna that they intend to sue the city for malicious prosecution.

The three plaintiffs are James Harper III, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and a 1998 Republican candidate for state attorney general; Atlanta attorney Jeffrey Pombert; and Marietta businessman Jerry Chapman. Their attorneys filed notices claiming that their arrests and 2010 indictments arose from misconduct by the Smyrna police detective, among others, who was assigned to investigate criminal allegations made in 2007 by executives at Glock Inc. Glock's North American headquarters is in Smyrna.

Harper's personal accountant, Michael Stresser, has filed a claim containing similar allegations against Smyrna, said Atlanta attorney Joseph Crumly of Maner Crumly Chambliss, who is representing both Harper and Stresser. Stresser was never charged but was named a co-conspirator in the racketeering indictment.

The four men are seeking compensation for the costs of defending themselves for three years until Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds dismissed the felony charges last March. The charges were initiated by Reynolds' predecessor as DA, Pat Head. The plaintiffs also are seeking compensation for three years of lost wages and for damages to their professional reputations. Harper's claim accuses the city and police department of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy "with U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, several Georgia corporations, various professional corporations and numerous other companies and trusts." An earlier and more detailed draft of the notice that Harper also gave to the Daily Report lists Gaston Glock, the inventor of the gun that bears his name, and Consultinvest Inc., one of Glock's Georgia companies that is associated with its Smyrna operations, among the alleged co-conspirators.

The notice also claims that Smyrna police sought Harper's arrest without probable cause, gave perjured testimony, obstructed his defense, tampered with evidence and witnesses, accepted bribes, and defamed, slandered and libeled him during the investigation.

"I believe the racketeering conspiracy was with Gaston Glock, his agents or his companies," Harper said.

Chapman's claim, which seeks at least $1 million, also alleges that a computer and boxes of private, personal documents seized by police during the long-running investigation have disappeared from the Smyrna police department's evidence room, and that the police department cannot account for their whereabouts.

The notices are a precursor to a suit and are required by state law.

The dismissed case against Harper, Pombert and Chapman stemmed from a three-year international investigation Harper was hired by Glock to conduct following the attempted assassination of Gaston Glock in 1999.

After Glock retained him in 2000, Harper pulled together a 16-member international team of attorneys, accountants, investigators and former law enforcement officers to assist him in tracing and reclaiming at least $80 million in corporate funds that Glock confidante Charles Marie Joseph Ewert of Luxembourg, who was behind the assassination attempt, had misappropriated. Harper and his team ended their investigation two weeks after Ewert was convicted in Luxembourg of Glock's attempted murder and sentenced to a 20-year prison term.

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