The trial involving former Council Members Damien Gilliams and Pamela Parris is set for Jan. 11, 2021. At this time, all parties have agreed on the trial date.
Gilliams and Parris were arrested on Jun. 17, 2020, on criminal charges of violating the state’s Sunshine Law and perjury.
A third former Councilman, Charles Mauti, is cooperating with the State Attorney’s Office.
Gilliams is standing trial on three counts of violating the Florida Sunshine Law and one count of perjury after allegedly lying to investigators.
Parris is facing one count of violating the Florida Sunshine Law and one count of perjury after she, too, allegedly lied to investigators.
The charges are from an alleged illegal meeting that took place on Apr. 22, 2020, without city officials in an attempt to fire staff and appoint Gilliams as the city’s new mayor.
There was a regularly scheduled meeting for that day, but City Manager Paul Carlisle canceled it due to COVID-19 concerns.
Sebastian citizens accused the three council members of an illegal coup in an attempt to take over the City of Sebastian during the coronavirus pandemic.
On July 23, 2020, Parris and Mauti were charged with additional Sunshine Law violations after having a private meeting to discuss city business.
On Sept. 9, 2020, Parris was found guilty after entering a plea of no contest. Parris told Judge Nicole Menz she didn’t think any laws were broken.
However, Menz told Parris she was expected to abide by all the laws when elected to City Council.
“You are held to, or expected to abide by, obviously all of the laws, and it’s just a given that you’re going to know what all of those are when you are elected to such a position to the City Council in Sebastian,” Menz told Parris.
Gilliams, Parris, and Mauti were recalled on Sept. 15, 2020, after more than 91 percent of Sebastian citizens voted to remove them from office.
The upcoming trial for Gilliams and Parris is more serious than civil charges. They are both being charged criminally.