Trial date set for former Dothan prosecutor charged with ethics violation

DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — The trial for a former Houston County Assistant District Attorney accused of having an online relationship with a past defendant has been set for mid-summer.

Judge Burt Smithart ordered the trial of Mark Johnson to begin on Monday, July 29. His trial was set to start in October 2023 before being pushed twice.

Johnson is accused of having an online relationship with Jamie Connolly, a defendant in a past case that he prosecuted.

In February 2022, Connolly revealed their alleged relationship in a letter to the court saying that Johnson friended her on Facebook in October 2021, and the two began having an “online relationship.”

Johnson was placed on leave after the letter was sent to the judge. After an investigation, he was indicted in October 2022 and turned himself in at the Houston County Jail. That same day, former Houston County District Attorney Pat Jones fired Johnson.

Almost three weeks before Judge Smithart set the trial date, Johnson requested his charges be dropped. He claimed the prosecution’s case is solely based on the evidence presented by accomplices or alleged co-conspirators, which does not make for a strong enough case and goes against Alabama law.

The judge has not responded to Johnson’s request, but it is unlikely the charges will be dropped since Judge Smithart set a trial date.

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