CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Seven people pleaded guilty for their part in abusing Megan Williams -- but now Williams says that abuse never happened.
She will hold a press conference Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, to recant her claims of abuse, attorney Byron L. Potts, who represents Williams, told The Charleston Gazette on Tuesday night.
"She has decided she has been living this lie for approximately two years and she has decided to tell the truth," Potts said. "She fabricated the story and she did this in retaliation because she was having a relationship with one of them."
But former Logan County prosecutor Brian Abraham, who was in charge of the case, said no one ever went to jail because of Williams' statements.
Instead, Abraham said Tuesday night, he decided early in the case not to rely on Williams' statements, but on the physical evidence and the statements of the co-defendants.
"It's ironic to me that today she's saying she made all this up. At the time she was criticizing me for offering them plea agreements," Abraham said.
"This isn't to rejuvenate her 15 minutes of fame, but to regurgitate her 15 minutes of fame. Is she proposing to give back all the donations she got?"
State Police found Williams at the mobile home of Bobby Brewster and his mother, Frankie Brewster, on Sept. 8, 2007. She was in a relationship with Brewster.
According to the admissions of those eventually convicted, Williams was physically and sexually abused. She was beaten repeatedly, held against her will, burned with hot wax, stabbed in the leg, and forced to perform oral sex on at least two defendants.
"Each of them made statements incriminating themselves and others. When you sat back and looked at it in its entirety, there was a pretty clear picture of what had taken place," Abraham said.
"As she got hooked up with her family and with additional handlers joined in, she continued to embellish. But we had her original statements that she gave. For the most part, they were consistent with what the co-defendants said happened."
The Brewsters and Logan County residents George Messer, Alisha Burton, Karen Burton, Linnie Burton Jr. and Danny Combs each plead guilty to crimes for abusing Williams. The crimes ranged from simple battery to kidnapping, sexual assault and one hate crime charge.
Burton pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge for stabbing Williams in the ankle while saying, "This is what we do to niggers around here."
At the time of the plea deals, Megan Williams, her adopted mother Carmen Williams, and her adviser Malik Shabazz criticized the plea agreements, claiming they were too light a punishment. Shabazz, co-founder of Black Lawyers for Justice and a member of the New Black Panther Party, gave Williams and her family legal counsel.
The Williams family, Shabazz and others criticized Abraham for only pursuing a hate crime charge for Burton.
Now Williams claims she wasn't abused at all, Potts said.
"They did plead guilty, I don't know why," he said of the defendants. "This is what she's telling me."
Potts said he contacted current Logan County Prosecutor John Bennett to tell him Williams was recanting her testimony. The prosecutor gave Potts contact information for the lawyers of the defendants. Potts said he plans to contact each of them.
"It sounds to me that there are innocent people held in jail for something they did not do," Potts said. "I have no idea what convinced them to plead guilty."
He said Williams knows that by recanting her testimony, she could be prosecuted for lying about the incident.
"She still wants to come forward. She's been fully advised that she could potentially be charged and end up in the penitentiary herself," he said.
Potts said Megan Williams was manipulated by Carmen Williams and others after she was found at the Brewster home. Carmen Williams has since died. Megan's adoptive father, Matthew Williams, could not be reached late Tuesday.
"I know for a fact she has been manipulated," Potts said. "People raised money for her, she never received that money."
Abraham also believes Williams has been manipulated.
Six days after Williams was found, Abraham met with NAACP and black church leaders to discuss hate-crime charges in the case.
"I remember specifically telling them, 'Look fellas, be careful how far you go out on this limb, you may get sawed off. Be careful of what she's saying and what her family is saying,'" Abraham said.
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