DuPree back at work, Ware's team weighing options - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

DuPree back at work, Ware's team weighing options

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

For Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree, Wednesday was back to work after spending a week in court as his title of mayor was being contested. The question for many is whether the trail has damaged his reputation as mayor. DuPree committed to an interview that was suppose to happen Wednesday to give his reactions and thoughts on the entire ordeal, but his office has now postponed it until after court hearings on Friday

"I'm not going to do it tonight, I'll do it tomorrow," said DuPree Tuesday night after the mistrial.

DuPree was hoping for a favorable verdict Tuesday, but was clearly happy in court with the mistrial declared by Judge William Coleman. It was an outcome even the judge didn't want as he pressed they jury to reach a verdict.

"There's no question that a verdict would be in the best interest for the community," judge Coleman told the court.

Initially, there was one. The jury voted 9 to 3 in favor of DuPree's challenger, former city council member Dave Ware, but when polled in open court, the vote changed to 8 to 4 which led to the mistrial. Part of DuPree's legal team, Precious Martin says the will of the voters has been upheld.

"Johnny DuPree is the rightful mayor. The legal votes were counted and it was certified by the election commission here in town," said Martin.

Now, as DuPree is getting back to work, so is Ware's legal team which is evaluating their next move in the fight to overturn the election because of alleged illegal ballots.

"We are going to continue to explore what our options may be because at the end of the day, the very first verdict that was rendered was a 9 to 3 verdict declaring Dave the winner," said Ware's spokesman David Morris.

"The fight for a fair and honest elections in Mississippi is far from over," said one of Ware's attorney Cory Wilson.

The court hearing slated for Friday is expected to include several motions including a request for a special election.

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