LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. — Day two of testimony is underway in the Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s criminal theft and ethics trial.
The judge denied the defense’s motion to dismiss a charge and strike a witness testimony that caused a ‘stir’ in the courtroom on Monday.
Blakely’s lawyers claimed they were not made aware that state witness, Trent Willis, was currently under investigation. However, the state said it was brought to their attention in February 2020.
The investigation, according to the state, is unrelated to Blakely. Willis is under investigation for his work with Representative Ritchie Whorton where he was the campaign manager.
The next witness to be called was Cynthia Raulston, the Alabama Ethics Commissioner attorney. The state called Raulston to speak on her expertise in ethics law.
Raulston discussed ethics laws such as use for personal gain and soliciting things of value, both of these Blakely is accused of.
Campaign finance records were being discussed when the judge called a lunch break.
After the break, the state called a witness who works at Trustmark Bank and an employee for the Office of the Inspector General for the TVA.
The next witness, Romona Robinson has worked in accounts payable for the Limestone County Commission before that she worked at the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office. She worked as a clerk for inmates accounts from March 2011-2016, she kept money from Limestone County Jail’s inmates in a safe in her office.
She talked about the amount of money that would be kept in that safe, how she would keep track of the money on Quickbooks and how there was no bank account for the inmate money.
Robinson also spoke about procedures for inmates accessing their money, how she would cash checks for employees using the money in the safe and how Sheriff Blakely would ask money from the safe and she would leave an IOU in the safe for him.
She told the court Blakely would sometimes have multiple IOUs in the safe at a time and she would not enter those amounts into Quickbooks. Robinson also said that she only accepted checks from Sheriff Blakely and would worry about losing her job if she did not follow his instructions when taking those checks to the bank.
After Robinson’s testimony, the court took a break.
The state called Agent Louis Wilson from the Attorney Generals Office in Special Prosecution Division. He investigates public corruption cases. He reviewed three bank accounts in this case, two personal accounts and a campaign account for Sheriff Blakely.
Court ended for the day before 4 p.m.