Alabama sheriff seeks dismissal of 4 theft charges as trial resumes

Published 11:15 am Monday, July 19, 2021

A longtime Alabama sheriff on trial on allegations of corruption asked a judge to throw out four charges alleging he stole thousands of dollars from his own campaign committee.

Attorneys for Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely filed a motion seeking dismissal of the charges on Sunday, a day before testimony was set to begin in Blakely’s trial.

Indicted on 13 counts in 2019, Blakely was accused by prosecutors during opening statements on Friday of using money from his campaign and public accounts to cover personal expenses, and of pressuring employees for money.

The first four counts of the indictment accuse Blakely, 70, of taking money from Friends of Mike Blakely, his campaign account. Blakely was the candidate and principal of the account, the defense argued, so he already had an interest in the money and can’t be convicted of stealing from the fund.

Judge Pamela Baschab didn’t issue an immediate ruling on the motion.

Aside from theft, Blakely is charged with using his office for personal gain and soliciting money from an employee. Blakely, who has continued working as sheriff, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and faces automatic removal from office if convicted of a felony.