ROME, Ga. -- A jury convicted former Murray County Magistrate Bryant Cochran of six federal crimes this afternoon.
Cochran, who resigned from office in August 2012, is guilty of several crimes surrounding his time in office, including depriving his female employees of their civil rights and framing a woman for arrest.
Cochran will be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Feb. 20. The potential punishment varies for each charge, and he could serve several sentences at the same time. The most severe punishment is for the crime of tampering with a witness: Up to 20 years in federal prison.
Prosecutors told the jury that Cochran framed Angela Garmley for a crime in August 2012, one day before he had to resign from office amid a Judicial Qualifications Commission hearing.
Garmley had told the JQC and several media outlets that Cochran tried to have sex with her after she visited his office in April 2012 to try to get warrants against three people who beat her up. She said that Cochran told her he needed a mistress and wanted her to return to office wearing a dress and no underwear.
After Garmley's story went public, one of Cochran's tenants planted methamphetamine on Garmley's car. The Murray County Sheriff's Office then arrested Garmley.
A Murray County deputy and captain who were involved in the arrested later pleaded guilty to federal obstruction charges. Cochran's tenant also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
On Tuesday, one of Cochran's childhood friends told the jury that Cochran asked him to lie to investigators on Cochran's behalf. Mike Winkler was supposed to tell the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that he told Cochran that Garmley had methamphetamine on her car, which would explain why Cochran later told the sheriff's office to pull her over, check her car and arrest her.