When Sheriff Mike Blakely requested one his staff to wire him money, he was in a on line casino in Mississippi, trial testimony revealed immediately. He was presupposed to be attending a convention in Alabama, state prosecutors say.
“I wired him $1,000 as a result of I wished to,” Debbie Davis, the chief clerk of the Limestone County Sheriff’s Workplace, instructed the jury in Blakely’s corruption trial. “It was my private cash.”
Blakely, the 10-term sheriff of Limestone County, is charged with 11 counts of theft and abuse of energy. One of many prices introduced by the state of Alabama accuses Blakely of utilizing his place for private achieve by soliciting the wire switch from Davis, who labored for him.
Davis testified that she has been associates with Blakely for many years — since lengthy earlier than she took a job within the sheriff’s workplace about 18 years in the past.
“Mrs. Davis, is it honest to say you don’t need the sheriff to be convicted?” Clark Morris, chief deputy lawyer basic, requested.
“Effectively certain it’s,” Davis replied.
On Wednesday Alabama prosecutors subpoenaed Davis to testify, because the state centered on loans, journey and allegations that Blakely was playing whereas he was presupposed to be at work conferences.
The state alleges that Blakely violated the Alabama ethics regulation for elected officers when he requested Davis to ship him the cash — as a result of she trusted Blakely for her job.
“If the sheriff determined to fireside you, he may, is that proper?” Morris requested.
“Sure, he may,” Davis replied.
Questioned by Robert Tuten, Blakley’s lead protection lawyer, Davis testified that the sheriff by no means threatened or coerced her and that she by no means believed her job was in peril.
Davis was working in her workplace on the sheriff’s division when Blakely referred to as her on the afternoon of Aug. 17, 2016, in accordance with testimony and cellphone data proven to the jury. He was presupposed to be attending a convention—a visit paid for by public cash— on the Alabama coast, however was as a substitute at a on line casino in Biloxi, in accordance with state prosecutors.
The prosecutors say Blakely didn’t register on the convention and spent solely someday enjoying golf and attending a vendor show earlier than driving to the Mississippi on line casino to stick with two Limestone county commissioners.
Blakely can also be charged with one rely of utilizing his place for private achieve and a misdemeanor rely of theft in reference to the Gulf Shores journey. State prosecutors allege he stole $218.36 from the county’s regulation enforcement fund by being overcompensated for bills on the journey.
However Davis testified that ultimately, all of the funds that the sheriff obtained from the fund matched the bills and the per diem cash that was owed to Blakely. Information proven to the jury appeared to verify Davis’ testimony.
Blakely obtained two checks, totaling $1,718.36, from the regulation enforcement fund for the journey. A rental for Blakely and two staff price $1,418.36, data present, and Blakely was owed $300 in per diem.
Davis was considered one of 4 witnesses referred to as by the state on Wednesday.
Lt. Johnny Morrell and Jeff Kilpatrick, each sheriff’s workplace investigators, instructed the jury they attended a coaching convention with the sheriff at a on line casino and resort in Las Vegas in 2014. The sheriff’s late spouse and a household buddy additionally went on the journey.
Morrell focuses on forensic investigations of digital units, equivalent to cellphones and computer systems. He instructed the jury that the coaching included programs on tips on how to extract proof from cellphones and different units. He instructed the jury that Blakely sat a few seats away from him throughout coaching.
However Kilpatrick testified that neither he nor Blakely introduced computer systems to the convention. He instructed the jury that the coaching was too superior for his data and that with out a pc, he wasn’t capable of adequately take part.
“After the primary day, I used to be carried out,” he testified.
He stated that he and the sheriff went driving round downtown Las Vegas someday as a substitute of attending coaching.
Each Kilpatrick and Morrell testified that they loaned the sheriff cash throughout the journey.
“I might do it any day of the week,” Morrell instructed the jury.
On cross examination by the protection, each investigators testified that they by no means noticed Blakely do something unlawful throughout the journey.
Nick Langenfield, a vice chairman for the corporate that owns the Palace Station On line casino in Las Vegas, testified that Blakely’s on line casino card was used to gamble throughout a few of the hours when the sheriff was presupposed to be attending the convention.
On line casino data present Blakely’s card was used between 10 a.m. and a couple of p.m. on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
On cross examination by protection lawyer Marcus Helstowski, Langenfield stated it was attainable that another person was playing with Blakely’s card.
“You may’t inform members of the jury who was placing the cardboard in that slot, are you able to?” Helstowski requested.
“Right,” Langenfield replied.
On redirect by the state, Langenfield testified that folks have an incentive to make use of their very own on line casino playing cards as a result of the extra they gamble, the extra rewards they earn.
“It’s like Chuck E. Cheese for adults,” he instructed the jury.
Wednesday was the third day of testimony in Blakely’s trial. To this point, state prosecutors have referred to as 17 witnesses. The trial resumes Thursday at 9 a.m.