Damien Gilliams, Pamela Parris to stand trial this month for perjury, Sunshine Law violations

Damien Gilliams and Pamela Parris arrested on June 17, 2020.
Damien Gilliams and Pamela Parris arrested on June 17, 2020.

Last week, Judge David Morgan set a trial date for Nov. 25 for former Sebastian City Council members Damien Gilliams and Pamela Parris on charges of perjury and violating the state Sunshine Law.

Gilliams and Parris, who were removed from public office after a recall election on Sept. 15, were in court Wednesday with their attorneys Jeffrey Garland and Philip Reizenstein.

The charges come after they held a nonpublic meeting on April 22, 2020. During the meeting, they voted to remove the city staff and appoint Gilliams as the new mayor. 

Also at the meeting was Diana Bolton, a current candidate for the Sebastian City Council. She also supported Gilliams two days later at his press conference.

Sebastian citizens called the meeting an illegal coup, which prompted the State Attorney’s Office to open an investigation. 

According to the investigation, Gilliams and Parris lied to investigators and were charged with perjury. Eventually, they were also charged with criminal violations of the Sunshine Law.

On Sept. 9, Parris was found guilty and convicted of a lesser Sunshine Law violation after conducting city business in secret following a meeting. The conversation was captured by microphones that were still on. She paid a $250 fine for the non-criminal fraction, plus $68 in court costs.

Parris tried to downplay the case on social media.

“Many officials have ‘broken’ the Sunshine Law. It’s original purpose was for good reason but it’s been taking way out of context. I violated the Sunshine Law in the sunshine in front of the public,” Parris wrote.

However, according to legal sources, the upcoming trial is far more serious that could come with more significant consequences and possible jail time.

Sebastian Daily will be at the trial on Nov. 25.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.