By Brandon Moseley
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall (R) announced in a statement that he is pleased with the State Pardons and Paroles Board decision to reverse 2012 and 2015 pardons for convicted former Franklin County District Attorney John Frederick Pilati and require he be placed back on the sex offender registry.
AG Marshall said, “I am pleased that the Board of Pardons and Paroles followed our recommendation to deny his pardons.” “John Pilati violated a solemn oath to protect and defend the people when he violated the civil rights through sexual contact with five different young men while he was district attorney.”
Masrshall added, “While Pilati served his sentence and was released in 2011, the nature of his crime against his victims and the violation of his oath of office demand that he should not be granted a pardon.”
Former DA Pilati was convicted in federal court and sentenced in 2008 to 42 months in prison for five civil rights offenses related to sexual assaults on young men who ranged in age from 16 to 20.
Chief Deputy AG Alice Martin, who was U.S. Attorney for President George W. Bush (R) when Pilati was first prosecuted, successfully argued for voiding the earlier pardons. Miles Matt Hart was the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted that case. He also is now with the Attorney General’s office.
In August 2003, in response to citizen complaints, the FBI and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office initiated an investigation of Pilati for violations of the Hobbs Act and other offenses. In addition to the sexual favors Pilati also solicited payments from defendants in criminal cases that he was prosecuting. These payments were to be made to the Franklin County District Attorney’s fund. In return for these payments, Pilati would recommend a reduced sentence, lower a felony charge to a misdemeanor, recommend community corrections, recommend probation, dismiss a charge, or take some other action favorable to the defendant making the payment or for agreeing to sexual favors. Conversely that meant that people who denied Pilati were treated more harshly by the DA’s office.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley appointed former Marshall County DA Marshall to be Attorney General after appointing AG Luther Strange to be U.S. Senator following Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as U.S. Attorney General.
(Original reporting by WAFF Channel 48 contributed to this report.)