SPANISH FORT, Ala (WALA) — Nearly a year after Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan was arrested accused of slapping a now-fired city employee, we are getting a look at the video at the center of the investigation.
The video was leaked and then posted on a public Baldwin County Facebook group just weeks before McMillan is up for reelection.
It is a poor-quality clip because it is a recording of a recording.
The attorney for Lyndsey Cooper, the woman who was allegedly slapped, said the video is authentic and the public can now see what happened.
“It’s almost absurd to try and formulate logic that would allow you to believe he didn’t hit her,” said Edward Smith, Cooper’s attorney.
In the 15 second clip, you see Cooper and McMillan, looking at a computer screen at the city hall front desk. McMillan then appears to try to touch the screen. Smith said Cooper then started laughing.
“I assume he thought she was laughing at him maybe and apparently his ego is so fragile that he just couldn’t stand it and he slaps her,” he said.
For months, Spanish Fort refused to release the video citing open investigations, but overnight the video was leaked in a Facebook group with 1,700 members.
We tried to talk to McMillan on Thursday, but he was not at city hall and nobody answered the door at his home.
However, his attorney Donald Briskman sent us a statement that reads: “Mayor McMillan looks forward to having his day in court where all of the evidence will come forth and the truth will be borne out. The parties were requested by the Assistant District Attorney not to release the video of this incident in an effort to be fair to all parties and so the criminal case would not be prejudiced. Mayor McMillan has complied with all orders of the Court and requests by the Assistant District Attorney regarding the video as he awaits trial. It is very disappointing and concerning that someone would release this video outside of court against the request of the Assistant District Attorney without giving Mayor McMillan the opportunity to present all evidence in a court of law. 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. You are innocent until proven guilty, and I ask that he be given the opportunity for a fair trial in this matter.
“I think he should resign, but he didn’t he’s denying it and he’s going with that,” Smith said.
Cooper was fired from the City of Spanish Fort in June for insubordination and the city council upheld it in July.
Smith said the council failed to protect Cooper.
“They have endorsed his hitting,” he said. “They have in their possession adequate facts to know that her termination was not for the reasons stated.”
Nobody on the city council responded to a request for comment.
The DA’s Office said the video’s release should not impact the case.
Mcmillan’s misdemeanor harassment trial has been delayed with no date set yet, but we are told that could change soon.
The city released a statement about the leaked video: “The City of Spanish Fort has been very careful to respect the rights of all persons in the matter involving Lyndsey Cooper and Mayor McMillan, particularly since there is a pending criminal case that has not yet gone to trial. The accuser has rights, and persons accused are innocent until proven guilty. The City respects the judicial process, and the assigned Assistant District Attorney requested that the video of the incident not be released to the public prior to the trial, as it was determined that the video needed to be given context by witnesses who could testify regarding the incident in order to be fair to all parties. In an agreement with the Assistant District Attorney, neither the City nor the District Attorney’s office, to our knowledge, has released the video to the public in an effort to ensure that the adjudication of the criminal case is not prejudiced. For whatever reason, it appears that the video was posted in violation of the request from the District Attorney’s Office. It is unfortunate this occurred prior to trial and without the full context. The City will continue to cooperate in this matter in an effort to ensure that the parties have a fair trial.”
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