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Ex-cop pleads not guilty to smuggling cellphone to son in jail
Pearlene Williams, former chief of staff to Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington, pleaded not guilty this morning to charges of smuggling a cellphone to her son in jail.
Williams’ attorney asked for a pre-trial conference today to find out what sentence prosecutors would recommend if she pleaded guilty. Once the sentence recommendation was discussed privately, she entered her plea to felony charges of furnishing a prohibited item to an inmate and violating her oath of office.
Authorities have disclosed next to nothing about the charges. Williams was indicted Oct. 27 for allegedly smuggling a phone and battery to her son, Muhammad Kareem, then an inmate at the DeKalb County Jail. The incident allegedly occurred between Feb. 1 and June 18.
Kareem, 22, pleaded guilty in 2008 to murder and armed robbery in the shooting death of Fred Miller, 58, manager of a Covington Highway pawn shop. Kareem is now serving life plus five years in prison.
Williams, a 28-year APD veteran, retired in July, a few days after news surfaced of the criminal investigation into the jail incident.
Family relationships have landed Williams in a criminal court — as a witness — once before.
Court records list Williams as a witness in a 1991 case against her former husband, Wali Kareem, who was accused of rape, statutory rape, aggravated sodomy and other charges involving an underage relative.
Kareem was sentenced to probation and two years’ home confinement for two counts of cruelty to children. The other charges were dropped.