SPANISH FORT, Ala (WALA) — The attorney for Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan is talking about the case for the first time since the video of the alleged slapping incident was leaked online earlier this month.
For months, McMillan and his attorney have said there was no slap. Despite what some are saying the leaked video shows, they are doubling down that the mayor is innocent.
“The video does not show a slap, it does not show any contact,” said Donald Briskman, Mayor McMillan’s attorney.
The 15-second video that was leaked on Facebook nearly two weeks ago has two sides.
Fired Spanish Fort city employee Lyndsey Cooper says it shows her being slapped at city hall in October last year.
Mayor McMillan and his attorney say there was no contact.
“Don’t you think if there was a slap there would have been more of a reaction and don’t you think if there was a slap that the 3rd party that was not in the immediate area but was right there would have heard or seen a slap,” Briskman said.
Despite that, Cooper signed a warrant for McMillan’s arrest and he was booked and charged with misdemeanor harassment.
“There are some I’m sure that see or want to see a slap and there are many people that say wait a minute I don’t see a slap,” Briskman said.
The video was leaked on Facebook by a Baldwin County lawyer, the same person Cooper now works for.
Briskman says the person releasing the video acted on Cooper’s behalf, something Cooper’s attorney denies.
“I do care that the video was released contrary to what the district attorney’s office and the defense agreed to,” Briskman said.
Cooper no longer works at the city after being fired for insubordination. A termination she claims was in retaliation for reporting the mayor.
Briskman says the firing was not in retaliation, and McMillan looks forward to fighting the harassment charge in court.
“He has maintained his confidence in the process, and he’s carrying on and discharging his duties as mayor,” Briskman said.
We reached out to the attorney who released the video, but he did not respond.
As for McMillan’s court case, it has been delayed for months with no new court date.
McMillan is up for reelection on Tuesday, August 25th. He faces three challengers.
Briskman’s full statement:
Mayor McMillan has asserted his innocence and pled not guilty to the charges made by Lyndsey Cooper. The Assistant District Attorney requested that the video not be released prior to trial in an effort to be fair to all parties and so the criminal case would not be prejudiced. While some may argue that the Mayor and the City should have released the video early on, the Mayor and the City abided by the Assistant District Attorney’s request given the pending case. On information and belief, Mrs. Cooper’s current employer, a lawyer, released the video last week. This has prompted public comments that we believe are misleading. Until now, Mayor McMillan has remained silent while awaiting his day in court. Given the video’s release and public comments surrounding it, however, it is imperative that certain allegations be addressed as a matter of fundamental fairness. The Mayor has pled not guilty to the charge of harassment. The Mayor maintains that he did not slap Mrs. Cooper. The video does NOT show his hand making contact with Mrs. Cooper’s face. As can be seen in the video, there is another person who was present just a few feet from the Mayor and Mrs. Cooper, and that witness, according to Mrs. Cooper’s complaint filed with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, did not see any alleged slap. When reviewing the video, it is important to take into account not only what you see but also what you don’t see. The trial court will have the benefit of seeing and hearing all of the evidence. As previously stated by Mayor McMillan, he believes that after a full and fair hearing, which would include a complete review of the full video (not the copy of the video recorded on a cell phone and released without authorization, but the full video preserved from the City’s server and provided to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s investigators), still photos from the video, witness testimony and all other evidence, the allegations against him will be disproved. Additionally, it has been asserted that the City of Spanish Fort terminated Mrs. Cooper’s employment in retaliation for her filing charges against the Mayor. This is false. Mrs. Cooper was terminated for failure to perform job duties and insubordination in that she repeatedly refused to perform building access screening for COVID-19, the same type of screening performed by people across the country. Information related to Mrs. Cooper’s termination is a public record and available for review. Mayor McMillan recused himself and did not participate in Mrs. Cooper’s termination proceedings. As previously stated by Mayor McMillan, he believes that, after a full and fair hearing, the allegations against him will be disproved, and he will be exonerated. Persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent under the law.
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