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Ford Says that Bentley May Have Obstructed Justice

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

“In the Criminal Justice System, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”

Anyone who has watched the long running crime drama, “Law and Order,” understands how this works. Police respond to and investigate crimes and the prosecutors work with them to build and prove those cases in the court of law. The two separate but equally important groups of professionals work together in service to the people they protect. In the state of Alabama our police are the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and our prosecutors are the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Anyone familiar with the TV show (or the real life operations of the American justice system) knows that if a prosecutor asks a law enforcement officer for a sworn affidavit about something in a criminal case the state is working on the officer complies with that request routinely.

When the state’s top cop, ALEA Director Spencer Collier, was asked to provide a sworn affidavit by the Chief of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division Matt Hart, he like any other sworn officer of the law would likely have done, did as requested and provided the requested information.

According to original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Chuck Dean this blind pursuit of justice so angered Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) that Bentley has placed Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier on a medical leave of absence from his job for the next three months. Bentley has appointed Stan Stabler as acting secretary of law enforcement. Stabler is a body guard, currently the chief of the Dignitary Protection Unit at ALEA and formerly the head of Bentley’s protection detail. The Governor’s actions in interfering with a criminal investigation are…unusual. The Governor is already a witness in the case against the sitting Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and likely to be called to testify if and when the case is ever brought to trial.

House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) went even farther and suggested that Bentley’s actions may be themselves illegal. Ford called the Governor’s Actions an “Obstruction of Justice.”

Rep. Ford wrote, “Governor Robert Bentley has, in my opinion, committed what can only be termed obstruction of justice by pressuring the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to refuse to provide an affidavit about information regarding an ongoing criminal investigation. Governor Bentley ordered Director Spencer Collier to refuse to sign an affidavit that clarified the fact that it was defense attorneys in the case of Speaker Mike Hubbard who contacted ALEA requesting that they interview Baron Coleman. It was not the agency that initiated contact with Coleman as Coleman claims.”

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Minority Leader Ford wrote, “The issue here is serious. For the Governor to direct the head of the State’s top law enforcement agency to refuse to do his duty in a criminal investigation is obstruction of justice. And now, it appears the Governor may have forced Director Collier to take a “medical leave” in retaliation for simply doing that duty. Let me be clear: This is not about Speaker Mike Hubbard or the outcome of the proceedings in Lee County. This is about obstruction of justice, and the fact that the governor is not above the law.”

Rep. Ford said, “This action on the part of the Governor’s Office should send chills through all law enforcement agencies and create outrage among all who value the rule of law.”

The Governor is not the only elected official who is seen as attempting to prevent Mike Hubbard from ever going to trial. A bipartisan group of thirty state legislators wrote a letter to President Obama’s US Attorney General, begging her to order federal prosecutors to investigate, not Speaker Hubbard and his cronies; but rather, the prosecutor, Matt Hart. How many of those legislators, like Governor Bentley, testified before the Lee County Grand Jury and may not want their secret grand jury testimony to ever become public knowledge?

 

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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