Jury selection begins for Sheriff Mike Blakely’s trial
Blakely remained Limestone County Sheriff as he bids his day in court.
ATHENS, Alabama – A longtime Alabama sheriff accused of theft and ethics charges is set to stand trial almost two years after his indictment.
Jury selection is expected to begin Monday for Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely. He continued to serve despite a dozen counts alleging that he stole campaign donations, obtained interest-free loans and solicited money from employees.
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Blakely, 70, has pleaded not guilty and has announced his intention to run for an 11th term if he is acquitted. Although state law does not require the removal of an indicted sheriff, a conviction would result in his automatic removal.
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ORIGINAL STORY: Indictment / Arrest, August 22, 2019
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely was arrested and jailed in Limestone County Jail Thursday morning.
Blakely has posted the $ 49,000 bond and is back to work.
A press conference was held Thursday afternoon to, according to Public Information Officer Steven Young, assure residents of Limestone County that the office will continue to provide them with a professional service, as they have always done. He also said Sheriff Blakely will continue his open-door policy and remain available for anyone who wants to come and talk to him about anything.
The sheriff’s office also posted a statement about the case on its Facebook page:
Sheriff Mike Blakely was indicted by a Limestone County grand jury, initiated by the Alabama State Attorney General’s Office, on 13 counts. Sheriff Blakely posted a $ 49,000 bond and is back to work today.
An indictment before a grand jury is not a conviction; in fact, it is the process generally used when an agency cannot obtain a sufficiently probable cause to obtain its own mandate. As Sheriff Blakely once said, “You can indict a ham sandwich. We will not discuss the details of this case as it is not a Limestone County Sheriff’s Office matter, and any further discussion could affect future legal proceedings.
We want to make sure the people of Limestone County know that the service the Sheriff’s Office provides them will not be affected by today’s events. Sheriff Blakely and the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office have provided the most professional and friendly service possible to the citizens of Limestone County for the past 37 years, from changing a tire in the rain or wade through the debris to rescue tornado victims, whether that’s talking to residents stressed by personal issues or protecting them from an imminent threat by a violent assailant.
We will continue to proudly serve the great people of Limestone County with the same level of professionalism and vigor as ever. Sheriff Blakely also wants to assure the residents of this county that he will continue his “open door policy” and that he will remain available to anyone who wishes to come and talk to him about anything.
At the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office, we’re like family. We argue with each other sometimes and we are not perfect. We laugh together and we cry together. We are human like all of you. It concerns us all. But we all stand united in our mission to serve the great people of this county to the best of our ability, and we will continue to do so through thick and thin.
Alabama attorney Steve Marshall released information on the indictment, including:
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL INDICATOR
- First four counts charge Blakely with four separate thefts in his campaign account totaling $ 11,000
- Counts five to ten charge Blakely with theft or ethics charges stemming from his illegal withdrawal of money from Limestone County funds, including the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Fund.
- Count 11 accuses Blakely of soliciting a wire transfer of $ 1,000 from a subordinate other than in the ordinary course of business.
- Counts 12 and 13 accuse Blakely of using his official post or office to obtain interest-free loans. Specifically, Chief 12 accuses Blakely of using his official post or office to obtain interest-free loans in the form of a cashier’s check for $ 50,000 and / or a credit of $ 22,189.68. . Chief 13 accuses Blakely of using his official post or office to obtain interest-free loans by taking money from a safe used to store the personal funds of Limestone County inmates.
12 of the counts are felonies.
During an afternoon press conference, Young declined to share details of the case, saying: “This is not a Limestone County case and any further discussion here could affect the proceedings. judicial. ” Those who asked about the charges and the sheriff’s continued employment were referred to the GA’s office or Sheriff Blakely’s personal representative.