BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Brunswick City Commissioner James Brooks was released from jail Friday after being held overnight on charges of influencing a witness and obstructing a police officer in the shooting death of a 1-year-old boy last week.
On Thursday night, Brooks was also served with a six-count indictment about a separate incident accusing him of racketeering in Camden County.
Brooks did not comment about the allegations against him as he left the Glynn County jail after posting $5,000 bond Friday.
Sources say the charges against Brooks in connection with the child killing came from an incident Monday after several of murder suspect De'Marquise Elkins' family members left the courthouse after seeing the teen face a judge. Officials said Brooks kept a police officer away from the Elkins family.
In the following days, three of the accused teen's family members were arrested on charges of tampering with evidence and/or lying to investigators. Brooks' attorney, Alan Tucker, said his client was only trying to help.
"Commissioner Brooks went to the aid of constituents, and he unfortunately found out later that what they had been telling him and the community wasn't true," Tucker said.
But the longtime city commissioner faces more trouble. A Camden County grand jury indicted him Thursday on federal racketeering charges. According to court records, over the last couple of years, Brooks solicited bribes from people, and in exchange either clean their criminal records, get them jobs with the city, or get them permits and licenses.
Brooks is accused of using his title in public office to try to make thousands of dollars on the side. His attorney said Friday his client would be dealing with those allegations next week, and while he admits no guilt, the city commissioner apologizes for what has come forth so far.
"He's sorry for the inconvenience. He's sorry for embarrassing the community," Tucker said. "It wasn't his intent to embarrass this community. He was just trying to look after some of his constituents."
Brooks is known in the community as not just a leader in law, but also a part of the church. He's an associate pastor of one congregation. Fellow pastor and friend Ken Adkins said Brooks has a difficult road ahead of him.
"He knew this was something that he'd eventually have to answer," Adkins said. "That's my advice to him -- to accept responsibility, become accountable, and take care of your family and move on."
One condition of Brooks' release from jail Friday was that he surrender himself to the Camden County Sheriff's Office by noon Monday to answer the racketeering indictment there. It's unclear if he'll be arrested or just formally charged.
Brooks was accused of bribery last year, but the courts found there wasn't enough evidence to charge him, so they dropped the case against him.
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