By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
BIRMINGHAM—Jefferson County’s incoming District Attorney has been indicted on felony perjury charges just days before he is scheduled to take office.
Charles Todd Henderson, who was a surprise winner over incumbent Republican candidate Brandon Falls in November, has already been sworn in and was set to take over as the new DA on Tuesday. But under State law, a felony indictment will result in Henderson’s automatic suspension until the case can be resolved.
On Friday, Henderson was charged with a Class C felony for providing false information to a judge.
Henderson’s attorney, James Parkman, called the indictment an “injustice” and vowed that Henderson would fight it and win.
“If we could start trial tomorrow, we would,” Parkman said in a written statement.
During a call with reporters, a spokesperson at Parkman’s office also raised questions about the timing of the indictment – coming just a couple of days before he’s scheduled to take office – and about the charges themselves.
Those charges, Parkman’s office said, stem from a 2015 divorce case in which Henderson served as the guardian ad litem – the person appointed by the court to protect the interests of a minor child involved. In a press release issued Friday, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s office also cited that case – a contested divorce between Charbel Akl and Yareima Carmen Valecillos Akl – and said Henderson provided a false statement to the judge in that case.
The felony charge originated from a complaint from the Alabama State Bar Association in December.
Parkman’s office said the complaint centers around allegations that Yareima Carman Akl worked on Henderson’s campaign and that the relationship biased Henderson in his role as guardian ad litem.
Court records from the case show that Henderson was removed after Charbel Akl entered a complaint that featured pictures of his ex-wife working as a poll watcher for Henderson.
However, Henderson argued in his response to the court that he had no personal relationship with Akl and that the two parties were essentially in agreement on custody of the child.
Henderson was appointed as guardian ad litem on Jan. 26, 2016 and removed in mid-March.