Editor's Note (1/20/22): This article has been updated to include a statement from Michael Walker's attorney, Bret Burns.
The felony criminal trial of Grady County District 1 Commissioner Michael Walker was delayed to March. A special prosecutor charged Walker in May with embezzling $30,000 in county funds to make improvements to a private road.
The OSBI wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Walker approved of the improvements to County Street 2927, on which Walker lives.
The county does not maintain the private road, according to the affidavit.
Walker has plead not guilty to the charge. His attorney, Bret Burns, said in a statement to News 9 that the county has maintained the road for decades.
"This road is used by school buses to transport the children in the community and has been maintained by numerous county employees for over 40 years. Mike Walker has entered a not guilty plea and has requested a speedy trial so that a jury of his peers can decide this issue. Mike Walker has no plans to resign or suspend himself pending the resolution of this case," Burns said.
Burns added that Walker has fired "several disgruntled employees" since the criminal charge was filed in Grady County District Court.
Ralph Beard, chairman of the board of county commissioners, said he is unsure if it’s possible for the board to suspend Walker until the criminal case is settled.
“I have my doubts, my questions on that,” Beard told News 9. “We’re waiting… right now to see what’s going to take place.”
A group of current and former employees are preparing a civil case against Walker and the county for wrongful termination.
Attorney Mark Hammons told News 9 on Wednesday that he represents five current and former county employees who, he said, were fired or harassed by Walker after speaking with state investigators. Hammons said he expects to file a lawsuit on the group’s behalf in the near future.
Walker’s criminal trial was originally scheduled for late January but was postponed after the case was reassigned.
The tentative date for the trial is March 21, according to special prosecutor Brian Hermanson of Kay and Noble Counties.