Some DeKalb Co. Residents Upset Over Barron’s Trial Delay

Northeast Alabama
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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- The trial for former state Senator Lowell Barron has been delayed while the Court of Criminal Appeals reviews pending pretrial motions, and that delay has several DeKalb County residents upset.

Hundreds of potential jurors and witnesses showed up to the courthouse Monday morning to find out there wouldn't be a trial.

Several of these people told WHNT News 19 they weren't notified the trial was postponed.

"I was called as a potential witness and I've been inconvenienced just like over 400 potential jurors have been inconvenienced," Weldon Parrish said.

Other county officials say this delay is setting back a lot of effort.

"We've got to go back, and do this all over and all the preparation again, and contact all the people that's involved in this, and so there's just been a lot of time and money wasted," DeKalb County School Board member Harold Bobo said.

The State filed a motion earlier this week asking Judge Randall Cole to stop their case against Barron.

Friday, Judge Cole denied the State's motion.

According to Barron's attorney, Joe Espy, the State then appealed with the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Espy says they are against the stay. He says hundreds of  witnesses and potential jurors had made plans to come to the agreed trial date and as a result of the stay they will have to change their plans.

He says typically, a review of this nature will last about six months.

Espy says this stay will potentially push past the November election.

Lowell Barron issued a statement about the delay:

"Luther Strange has never stepped one foot in DeKalb County. He and his staff from Montgomery have been dragging this case out for over three years trying to discover any wrongdoing, including more than eight grand jury sessions in two different counties, and they have continued to be unsuccessful. He has tried again and again to delay this case because he has no case. I have been waiting long enough for my day in court and, once again, he has delayed this trial. Their appeal is likely to delay my day in court until after the November election, which interestingly will prevent our defense from presenting evidence showing that Luther Strange paid more than $85,000 to one campaign staffer in bonuses after his 2010 election. He knows that we were prepared to show that he has charged me with doing something that is ordinary and customary in campaigns and elections – no different than what he has done in the past himself. Once again, I ask Luther Strange to stop denying me my day in court."

Barron and co-defendant Rhonda Jill Johnson were indicted on six counts of violating state campaign and ethics laws.

A new trial date has not been set.

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