By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—There has been some push back from the Attorney General’s office after Gov. Robert Bentley’s Executive Order 13, reverses the AG’s authority over gambling prosecution, and returns it to local law enforcement.
However, General Strange showed no hesitation in removing a case from a local District Attorney when a Grand Jury indicted his employees for “perjury and lying” in the Greene County bingo raid.
The case is a result of an investigation by District Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit, Greg Griggers, who obtained an indictment for “perjury and lying” against three individuals who were instrumental in the 2011 raid on the Greenetrack facility in Greene County.
The investigation that led to the charges of “perjury and lying” against those working for Strange stem from an order given by Judge Houston L. Brown, to return seized property to Greenetrack because the search warrant issued on May 31, 2011, was “defective and should be and it is hereby SET ASIDE and held for naught” (The Order’s emphasis).
Judge Brown’s order listed then Chief Deputy Attorney General Richard Allen, Lieutenant Gary Michael Reese of the Alabama Beverage Control Board, the Attorney General’s hired gambling expert Desmond C. Ladner and Deputy Attorney General Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan.
The indictments were placed under seal so it is not certain which of these men were indicted.
Reagan was forced from the AG’s office after is was discovered he was working to undermine the case against Speaker Mike Hubbard.
In December, 2014, General Strange in memo to his staff wrote, “Reagan’s conduct fell far short of the high standard of honesty, integrity, and professionalism that the people of the State of Alabama have a right to expect…,”
In the Greene County case, the Attorney General’s office saw fit to usurp the authority of the local DA but doesn’t want to acknowledge that under Cornerstone, the Governor has the same authority. Under the State Supreme Court ruling in Cornerstone, the Governor is the “Supreme Executive Authority” and the “Chief Magistrate.”
In his ruling, Judge Brown wrote, “It is apparent the State presented statements which are clearly false, misleading, or were made with a reckless disregard for the truth.” Brown also wrote that, “…the affidavit…presented to the Court in chambers by the State’s gambling expert must be disregarded.” The Alabama Supreme Court overruled Brown, and the property was not returned to the bingo operations.
The Attorney General’s Office took control of a case under a sitting DA, after a grand jury indicted three individuals under Strange’s supervision. Since then the case has vanished into a legal black-site.