Attorneys meet virtually ahead of Sheriff Mike Blakely’s theft, ethics trial

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. — Proceedings of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s theft and ethics trial will not be kept under seal, a judge ruled Monday.

In a virtual status hearing Monday, Judge Pam Baschab denied that motion that was filed in Blakely’s trial last year, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning. Prosecutors said the motion was an effort to protect Blakely’s medical records.

Baschab also denied a defense request to exclude information and evidence about Blakely’s drinking and gambling habits. But before the decision was made, Blakely attorney Robert Tuten argued the state was bringing up the topics solely as an attempt to assassinate the sheriff’s character.

The state disagreed, saying the information will not be used for anything outside the scope of their case against Blakely.

Another topic at Monday’s hearing was logistics for the trial, which is scheduled to start in July.

The state says it anticipates by July, most adults will be vaccinated, so it shouldn’t be an issue to have jurors in court. Baschab said she’s considering a logistics hearing set for the third week of May.

One more issue raised was regarding the inclusion of audit records of accounts Blakely is accused of stealing from. Baschab is expected to rule on that at a later date.

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