When Scott Phillips and Trey Glenn were charged with multiple counts of violating Alabama’s Ethics Act, it was reported that then-Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton had asked the Alabama Ethics Commission to help him bring the case against the two men.
However, in a sworn statement given on Feb. 9, 2019, Anderton said it was Ethics Commission lawyers who approached him, as first reported by APR in November of last year.
Jefferson County indictments raise serious questions about Ethics Commission’s actions
According to Anderton, in the fall of 2018, Ethics Commission General Counsel Cynthia Propst Raulston approached him because “she had a case she wanted to present to the Jefferson County Grand Jury.”
He further states, “I told Ms. Raulston that I would facilitate her appearance before the grand jury but that my office did not have the resources to support her case. I also told her that she would have to prosecute the case herself.”
Anderton also said he made Raulston aware that she would need, “the appropriate paperwork prepared as I was unfamiliar with the requirements and procedures under the Alabama Ethics Act that would give her authority to prosecute in my circuit.”
He said that Raulston did appear before the Jefferson County grand jury, but he had no “specific recollection of signing any paperwork related to that appearance.”
All along, the commission has characterized the prosecution of Glenn and Phillips as being at the request of Anderton, but he said otherwise under oath.
“To my knowledge, at the time I talked with Ms. Raulston, no complaint had been filed with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office related to the matter she wished to prosecute,” Anderton said. “My office also had no plans to present any related matter to the grand jury.”
Anderson’s affidavit contradicts statements made by Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton at the time of Glenn and Phillips’ indictment.
In a press release published by al.com Albritton said, “I want to recognize the hard work from the Jefferson County DA’s office, which requested our assistance in this important matter.”
But according to Anderton, he did not request Albritton’s help and his office did nothing to bring the case against Glenn and Phillips.
Glenn, until his indictment in November, served as President Donald Trump’s Southeast EPA administrator. Phillips is a former Alabama Environmental Management commissioner. Both men, according to a statement from the Ethics Commission at the time of the indictments, are charged with multiple counts of violating state ethics laws.
The pair’s attorneys say that the commission denied their client’s due process and that the men were targets of selective and vindictive prosecution.
The defense argues that the case against Glenn and Phillips is “littered with irregularities” and the misrepresentation of who actually called for the grand jury indictments falls into that category according to the defense.
“Other than facilitating Ms. Raulston’s appearance with the grand jury coordinator, I did not have any other conversations with her in relation to the indictment or to her handling of the matter,” Anderton said.
The indictments stem from a complaint filed with the ethics commission by GASP, a Birmingham-based environmental group that closely monitors toxic waste and other polluters in the state.
Raulston’s sister, Stacie Propst, is GASP’s former-director, and insiders claim that the siblings shared private communications about the case.
Should Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Wallace, who is presiding over the case, grant the defense motion for a hearing on selective and vindictive prosecution emails and text messages between the sisters could become an area the defense may probe aggressively.
The defense raises serious concerns over how the commission’s lawyers mishandled the procedural requirements in finding an indictment against the pair.
That Anderton now confirms his lack of involvement in the case cast doubt over how the indictments were pursued against Glenn and Phillips in the first place.
In a new development before Glenn and Phillips’ arraignment on Feb. 11, the commission issued a superseding indictment, which now has the men facing fewer ethics charges in total than in the original indictment filed in November.