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First week of Sheriff Blakely trial wraps up with a rollercoaster of testimony

Two men involved in a business with ties to Blakely took the stand and had very different opinions on the inner workings of the business.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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LIMESTONE CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Selling secret weapons to Taiwan, witnesses alleged to be under the influence, and inmate labor outside the jail. Wild testimony on a wide range of topics were addressed in Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s corruption trial as the first week of testimony wrapped up.

The week even ended with laughs in the courtroom from spectators. Two men involved in a business with ties to Blakely took the stand and had very different opinions on the inner workings of the business.

The business is called HIGO LLC. Brad Pullum and Tong Shen Chiou testified about it, and this was one of Pullum’s business ventures. The goal was to have a firing range, gun shop and even sell weapons and submarines to the Federal Government and Taiwan.

Pullum and Chiou testified that they loaned around $72,000 to Blakely total although, Chiou did not originally know his $50,000 contribution was going to Blakely. Pullum was selling Blakely’s parents’ house at the time.

Pullum says HIGO is still a valid business, Chiou said it was not. Chiou said that he only contributed financially and was part of the business as a token minority. Chiou said he put $750,000 plus into HIGO, and Pullum took advantage of him.

Both Pullum and Chiou discussed how the Sheriff had inmates provide work to HIGO, putting lead in the walls to make it soundproof for secret meetings. One of the inmates who worked at HIGO took the stand.

He said the three inmates were trustees at the jail but not on work release, and got paid 10 dollars an hour for their work. Blakely’s attorneys asked Pullum while he was under oath if he was under the influence. He said he was on prescription pain medication, Tramadol and attorneys questioned him about his addiction history.

The first week of this trial has been full of ups and downs. On Monday, trial will not resume until after lunch to accommodate the state over concerns that something is missing from their records that could result in one count being dismissed.

There will also be a special hearing for this on Tuesday morning.

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