First witnesses called in Limestone County Sheriff’s case on Monday

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 8:39 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - UPDATE (10:45 a.m. on July 19): So far several witnesses have taken the stand in Sheriff Mike Blakely’s trial.

The state called Jeremy Walker, the Chief Executive Director for the Alabama Association of Realtors.

He testified that the group donates to campaigns and that they gave Sheriff Blakely money. Walker said Sheriff Blakely was supposed to put the money in his campaign account, not his personal account.

When cross-examined, defense attorneys asked Walker what name was on the check, stating it didn’t say Friends of Mike Blakely’s.

Next, someone from the Athens-Limestone Association of REALTORS took the stand. She talked about how she spoke with Sheriff Blakely, who she said told her to put his name on the check.

Upon cross-examination defense attorneys questioned the date the check was given to Sheriff Blakely, stating it was after the election cycle.

Clay Helms with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office also testified. He talked about training that is available to those running in elections, and the procedures surrounding running.

Helms said campaign money should almost always go to a campaign account, and the only exception is if someone borrows money from their personal account and is then paying themselves back. Helms said there must always be a paper trail on what money goes in and comes out. That information is also supposed to be on the annual report.

ORIGINAL: Just days after both prosecuting and defense attorneys gave opening statements in Sheriff Mike Blakely’s case, the defense team is asking for several counts to be dismissed.

Sunday, a motion was filed by the defense to dismiss two counts of theft of property in the first degree and two counts of theft of property in the second degree. As of Monday early morning, no ruling had been issued on this motion.

According to the text in the motion from the defense, “Each of the aforementioned counts of the indictments is defective, insufficient, and prejudicial to Mr. Blakely.”

The counts stem from four different checks Blakely allegedly got from local groups and political action committees, totaling about $11,000. Sheriff Blakely is accused of stealing campaign donations, taking personal loans from sheriff’s office funds without paying interest, and soliciting money from sheriff’s office employees. His attorneys report the state can’t show any missing money.

In the opening statements, prosecutors told jurors that Sheriff Blakely committed the alleged crimes for his own personal gain. They also said Sheriff Blakely took inmate money that was kept in a safe for his own personal use and solicited money from an employee.

The Sheriff’s defense team paints a different picture. They say the Sheriff never did anything for his own personal gain, and that he never committed a crime. The defense team states every single accusation has a simple and logical explanation, and there’s no missing money that the state can prove.

The phrase that was constantly repeated on Friday from the defense team is that there was no criminal intent, therefore, no crime.

Monday, we are expecting the first witness in this case to take the stand. Check back for updates.

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