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Firings Lead to Closing Criminal Cases

By Bill Britt
Alabama Poliical Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Firings at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has led to the closing of several criminal investigations, including one involving State Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City), according to several sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Law enforcement officers have confirmed, that Special Agent Jack Wilson was ordered by State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) Director Gene Wiggin to close several high-profile cases after Governor Bentley placed ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier on medical leave.

Bentley told, that he was also punishing Collier for not following his order not to give an affidavit to the Attorney General related to Speaker Mike Hubbard’s criminal felony case. Collier was place on a three month medical leave.

In the days following, Bentley replaced Collier with Acting Secretary Stan Stabler. After Bentley tapped Stabler, ALEA’s internal affairs, known as Standards and Integrity, questioned Agent Wilson about the Williams case and others, according to sources.

According to sources familiar with the actions surrounding the cases sometime after the interrogation, Wilson was ordered by SBI Director Wiggins to close the cases. Law enforcement officers confirm that closing these criminal investigations would have been approved by Stabler.

Reportedly, Wilson was troubled by what had occurred and wanted to report the cases being closed to other law enforcement agents only to be warned-off his plan by his superior officers. According to a source, Wiggins threatened Wilson with insubordination if he talked to other law enforcement agencies about the file.

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Sources close to Gov. Bentley report that Sen. Williams had contacted the Governor about his case, Williams’ contact with the Governor was also reported around ALEA. Williams, according to law enforcement, was being investigated for possible ethic violations related to consulting clients.

On Williams’ latest ethics Statement of Economic Interests, he lists 43 professional or consulting clients. When elected in 2010, he listed no such clients.

Williams claimed these were reoccurring litigation clients, however, a search of court records found he had only three reoccurring litigation clients, not 43, as he has claimed.

According to those in law enforcement, the investigators believed they had a solid case against Williams, and were close to presenting their findings to a Grand Jury. This was all stopped when Bentley replaced Collier.

Wilson was reassigned back to Mobile. John “Hal” Taylor was also reassigned.

JT Jenkins, ALEA’s second-in-command, Jay Howell, Camilla Gibson, and Collier’s personnel assistant, Merritt Hayes, were all relieved of their duties.

Stabler and Wiggins did not return phone calls. The Governor’s office has failed to answer request for information about the firings and the closed cases.

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Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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