A former Springfield mayor entered a plea of not guilty on charges of perjury and was arrested and booked into Effingham County Jail on Wednesday morning.
Jeff Northway was taken to the jail after his arraignment on false swearing and perjury, and bond was set at $11,200. A grand jury indicted him last month on false swearing and perjury as a result of the candidate qualification paperwork he submitted in 2009 and his testimony in a court proceeding.
Grand jurors indicted Northway for making a false statement in connection with filing of his notice of candidacy. In his indictment, grand jurors allege that Northway acknowledged he had never been convicted and sentenced in any court. Northway had been convicted and sentenced in Harris County, Texas, in December 1983 and December 1988.
In his indictment for perjury, Northway is accused of lying under oath. During an April 2011 deposition, Northway replied “no” when he was asked if he had ever been arrested and said “no” when he was asked if he had ever been convicted.
Northway resigned his seat in July 2012. City council members had sought Northway’s removal from office in 2010, but when he refused, they took the matter to superior court. A judge ruled in their favor, and Northway appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court.
State high court justices overturned the lower court’s ruling.
But just weeks after that decision, council members uncovered that Northway had been convicted and sentenced in Texas. He submitted his resignation a month after the state Supreme Court ruled in his favor, and city council members accepted his resignation a month later. Council members asked Northway to resign or face a declaratory judgment petition after they learned he had been convicted of three felonies in Texas. Northway was convicted for theft by receiving and twice convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Northway’s attorney informed city council that his client intended to resign but asked to keep the reasons confidential. The city, however, said it would not sign a nondisclosure agreement about Northway’s past, since the information was available through open records requests.