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Chronicle: Closing The Case Against Sen. Williams

Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—A criminal investigation into consulting contacts obtained by State Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) after his election to the Senate in 2010 was recently closed, and the agent reassigned to Mobile.

Serous questions as to why it was closed and who authorized it are being asked by both State and federal law enforcement.

Current and former law enforcement officers with knowledge of the actions surrounding the investigation shared with the chronology of events that led to the case being closed.

In December 2015, this publication first reported on Williams’ consulting business, which had grown from zero clients in 2010 to 43 clients as of his last ethics filing in 2014.

Williams listed the personal income from his consulting business as being between, $146,000 – $265,000 annually.

These reports lead to a criminal ethics investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), which began in early January 2016.

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ALEA Chief Spencer Collier was placed on medical leave on March 17, due to a scheduled back surgery, but also as punishment for disobeying Gov. Robert Bentley’s order not to provide an affidavit related to Speaker Mike Hubbard’s felony corruption case.

Bentley appointed Stan Stabler head of his security detail and as acting secretary during Collier’s leave. According to credible sources, on his last day on the job Collier met with Stabler to discuss several pressing issues, one being the investigation into Williams’ consulting business.

Stabler was informed of the investigation, that Special Agent Jack Wilson was lead, and that Wilson reported directly to veteran lawman, J.T. Jenkins, Collier’s second-in-command and not SBI Director Gene Wiggins.

According to those in the agency, Wiggins had a terrible record on public corruption cases so Collier gave Jenkins oversight of sensitive, high-level criminal public corruption investigations. Stabler, Jenkins, and Wilson agreed that the Williams investigation would go forward, seeing as the Attorney General’s Office was close to presenting the evidence to a Grand Jury.

Wilson was completing a checklist of remaining tasks provided by the Attorney General’s Office, according to those with knowledge of the situation.

A few days after Collier’s departure, Stabler, at the urging of Gov. Bentley, executed the February 29 “Monday Massacre,” which involved firing several staffers close to Collier, and reassigning Wilson back to Mobile.

Prior to the firings and reassignments, SBI Director Gene Wiggins told Jenkins that he wanted Wilson to close the Williams file(s), and wanted him reassigned to Major Crimes in Mobile. Jenkins stated that he would absolutely not close the case because the checklist from the Attorney General’s Office had to be completed and returned to the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutor. The Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Divison is led by public corruption buster, Matt Hart.

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During this period, Wilson informed Jenkins that ALEA’s Integrity Unit (“Internal Affairs” that now reported to Stabler) had questioned him about the Williams case.

On February 29, 2016, Jenkins was told by Stabler that his services were no longer needed. Sources say Wiggins (aware ahead of time that Jenkins was being relieved of duty) informed Jenkins that he was taking possession of Wilson’s files on Williams. According to those with knowledge of these events, Jenkins warned Wiggins not to intervene until the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Divison could sign off on the Williams case. However, Wiggins did not heed Jenkins’ warning and took the files from Wilson.

Reportedly, Williams had reached out to Gov. Bentley, asking that he intervene in the criminal investigation.

It is believed that individuals with knowledge of actions taken by ALEA and Bentley’s involvement will soon be asked to give a statement to the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division.

After wrote it original articles detailing Williams’ clients and the investigation, he issued a scathing press release in which he accused this reporter of lying about the actions surrounding his case. In his press release, which was published by the Gadsden Times and, Williams said, “Britt has attacked my law firm and its clients and insinuated I have used my position as a senator for private gain.”

The Gadsden Times executive editor, Ron Reaves, has promised a retraction to the article if it is proven that Williams was under investigation.


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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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