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Bribery trial gets under way
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Forsyth County News
Trial continued Thursday for a Forsyth County man accused of trying to bribe the woman he allegedly raped into dropping the charges against him.

Michael Sullivan, 42, of Long Hollow Drive pleaded not guilty in October to two counts of influencing a witness and one count each of rape and aggravated sodomy.

Sullivan’s wife, Carly, and an acquaintance, James Roberts, pleaded guilty to the influencing charge earlier this month.

The rape case against Sullivan has not yet gone to trial.

His trial on the influencing charge began Wednesday in Forsyth County Superior Court.

Sullivan’s accuser, a 45-year-old woman, contacted authorities in late March 2009, after Roberts asked her if she would accept payment in exchange for dropping the charges against Sullivan.

The Sullivans and Roberts were arrested April 2, 2009, for allegedly trying to bribe the woman.

The woman testified Wednesday that Roberts came to her house March 27, 2009, and offered the deal.

She said he told her she could receive $10,000 if she accepted the proposal. If she didn’t, Sullivan would sue her for perjury and publicize it.

The woman contacted the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. With the help of investigators, she later recorded conversations she had with Roberts.

Forsyth County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Scalia showed the jury video of a meeting the woman had with Roberts in her vehicle.

In it, the two discussed Sullivan paying her $10,000.

Roberts could be heard saying he’d ask for $500 for himself.

Roberts, 23, testified Wednesday that he knew Sullivan’s accuser through her children.

He said a private investigator contacted him to discuss Sullivan’s rape case.

“It was more along the lines of Mr. Sullivan would like to settle that case and get it behind him,” Roberts said.

He said he later met with Sullivan at his house, where they discussed a deal for Roberts to pursue with the woman.

Roberts said Sullivan wanted him to contact her “to try and get the charges dropped.”

“He wanted her to go to the DA’s office and drop all charges,” he said.

Roberts said Sullivan didn’t name a price in that meeting, but showed off stacks of $100 bills and told him “money’s not a problem.”

Roberts said the $10,000 amount was his own idea.

He testified that he was arrested after meeting with the woman in her vehicle at a parking deck in downtown Cumming.

After speaking with authorities, he set up a meeting with Sullivan at a restaurant in north Forsyth.

Roberts said Sullivan had given him a digital recorder to use during his conversations with the woman.

He said he agreed to give the recorder back to Sullivan at the restaurant. Instead, Sullivan’s wife showed up and gave him $100.

Sullivan’s attorney, Bruce Harvey, was expected to cross-examine Roberts later Thursday.