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Rep. Jack Williams: “I have done nothing wrong”

Chip Brownlee

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Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, is denying federal bribery charges and says he will continue running for Jefferson County Commission. (JackWilliams.Org)

Alabama State Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, who was arrested Monday on federal bribery charges, said Tuesday that he’s innocent and will finish his term and continue his campaign for Jefferson County Commission.

“I have done nothing wrong, and once the facts are presented, I expect to be found innocent by a jury of all the allegations outlined in Monday’s indictment,” Williams said. “I trust our judicial system and our electoral system; they have both protected individual rights for hundreds of years.”

Williams’ arrest Monday came after he was indicted by a federal grand jury as part of an alleged bribery scheme. G. Ford Gilbert, the owner of the Carmichael, California, based diabetes care company Trina Healthcare, and Marty Connors, a former ALGOP chairman, were also arrested.

Williams, who was elected in 2004, is accused of participating in a scheme to push legislation that benefitted Trina Healthcare through the Alabama House of Representatives.

Former Republican House Majority Leader Mickey Hammon pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance charges related to the same scheme.

The Vestavia Hills Republican says he plans to finish out the last few months of his term in the House. He had previously announced he would seek a seat on the Jefferson County Commission.

“I have served honorably in the legislature for over a decade and will continue to do so until my term expires,” Williams said. “I also will push forth with my campaign for the Jefferson County Commission. This statement is all I will say about the topic until I have my constitutionally-guaranteed day in court.”

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According to court documents, the legislation in question would have required Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama, the state’s largest health insurance provider, to cover specific diabetes treatments offered at Trina health clinics, three of which were located in Alabama.

U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin announced the charges, which also included wire fraud. Franklin’s office alleged that Ford made payments to Hammon, who carried the bill. Connors, who was working as a lobbyist, and Williams, through his position in the Legislature, aided in the process even after learning of the questionable nature of the payments, prosecutors said.

Williams, at the time, was the chairman of the House Commerce and Small Business Committee, which held a public hearing on the bill.

The indictment charges all three defendants with conspiracy to commit bribery related to federal programs, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and honest services wire fraud.

Gilbert is also charged health care fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. The indictment does not include charges against Hammon because Hammon has already pleaded to and has been sentenced in federal court for other offenses.

Sources have told the Alabama Political Reporter that Hammon is cooperating with federal authorities and likely is a key witness against his former friends and alleged co-conspirators.

Williams and Connors made initial appearances in federal court in Montgomery this week, and arraignment for the case is set for April 18.

“Mr. Williams absolutely denies any wrongdoing of any sort and has full faith in the judicial process and looks forward to presenting his side of the story in the courtroom, rather than the media,” said Williams’ attorney, Jake Watson. “The courtroom is the proper place to present evidence and testimony supporting his innocence.”

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