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Bentley, Strange scandal continues to dog new AG Marshall

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

New Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is in a difficult spot, thanks to the circumstances that landed him his new role.

No matter where he goes, questions about investigations into Gov. Robert Bentley, more questions about decisions made by the former AG, Luther Strange, and even more questions about his decision to recuse from the Bentley’s investigation continue to hound him. And that’s on top of the day-to-day operation of one of Alabama’s most important offices.

On Thursday, Marshall joined George Beck, US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and representatives from the US Secret Service and the Ozark Police Department for a press conference announcing the arrest of two men in a multi-state credit card skimming operation.

It was an arrest, the officials said, that put an end to a string of identity thefts in at least five states that cost consumers and businesses thousands of dollars. It also shed light on a growing, and surprisingly sophisticated, crime that could affect anyone who purchases gas using a debit or credit card.

The first question for Marshall, of course: “Could you tell us about your visit with House Judiciary Committee chairman Mike Jones (who’s leading the Bentley impeachment investigation) and your conversations with him?”

Such is life.

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Marshall said he had a couple of conversations with Jones – not entirely about the Bentley investigation – and indicated his intention to step aside and allow former Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks to lead the AG’s office’s investigation into the governor.

Pressed on the issue, Marshall refused to criticize Strange for accepting the US Senate seat appointment from a man his office was actively investigating. When asked if he would have accepted the position, Marshall declined to answer.

“I have the job I want right here,” he said, with a smile.

Marshall did say that he doesn’t foresee any significant changes in staff in the near future and stated plainly that the special prosecutions division will continue its work.

“Matt Hart leads that unit and he will continue to do so,” Marshall said. “Matt and I are on the same page when it comes to prosecuting ethics violations. We’re going to continue that work.”

When he finished, Marshall spent time chatting with other law enforcement officials in the room. He said he wants to devote more time in his office to joint task forces and rooting out maj,or problems and major criminals.

If he could just get the shadow of the governor and former AG out of his way.

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.


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