Tuscumbia attorney suspended following bribery indictment - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tuscumbia attorney suspended following bribery indictment

William Underwood (Source: WAFF) William Underwood (Source: WAFF)

A high-profile attorney in the Shoals is suspended from practicing in Alabama.

This Alabama Bar Association has suspended the license of Tuscumbia attorney William J. “Billy” Underwood pending his case outcome.

In January, Underwood was indicted by a federal grand jury for bribery of a juror, a Class C felony.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the indictment charges Underwood with offering, conferring or agreeing to confer any pecuniary benefit upon a juror with the intent that the juror’s vote, opinion, decision or other action as a juror will thereby be corruptly influenced in Colbert County.

Underwood surrendered at the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office in January and was released on bail pending the resolution of the case.

The Attorney General’s Office sought an indictment of Underwood after an investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

The Attorney General’s Criminal Trials Division presented evidence to a Colbert County grand jury resulting in his indictment on Jan. 8.

“Our jury system is the cornerstone to the justice system in our country. My office will always work diligently to ensure that our citizens can be confident that justice will prevail when they go into a courtroom in our state,” said Marshall. “Any possible violation of the laws applying to the sanctity of the jury system must always be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law. Whether the alleged offender is an attorney or not, such illegal activity will not be tolerated in our state. Our litigants should never question whether they will be treated fairly when they enter our county courthouses.”

Marshall's office said no further information about the investigation or the alleged crime in this case may be released at this time.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to contact the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (Russellville Field Office) at 256-436-1344.

Underwood's office sent the following statement:

Tuscumbia attorney Billy Underwood has been charged with attempting to bribe a prospective juror in a case where that individual never went to the courthouse and a jury was never empaneled.

Mr. William Hovater and I are proud to represent Mr. Underwood on a case that I am very surprised has been brought. Mr. Underwood is alleged to have attempted to influence a juror in a case in which he was not an attorney nor would have received a fee,” stated W. Brent Woodall.

Jeff Bowling, an attorney from Franklin County, stated that he has known Underwood for over twenty years and that he is one of the most honest attorneys with whom he has dealt. Cliff Wright, who has practiced law in Lauderdale County for many years, likewise recognizes Underwood to be an honest attorney.

Mr. Woodall, who has prosecuted cases for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama, expressed confidence that there will be a good outcome of this case. Mr. Hovater, who has practiced law in Colbert County for over 37 years, is also certain that this case will be resolved in Mr. Underwood’s favor.

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