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Alabama Supreme Court denies Cole request again, deposition will move forward

Cole is set to be deposed in Montgomery on Wednesday in a residency challenge to his election in House District 10.

The Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building in Montgomery, which is home to the Alabama Supreme Court.
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David Cole is 0-for-3 at the Alabama Supreme Court. 

The state’s highest court, in a pair of 5-3 decisions on Tuesday, denied Cole’s request to limit deposition questions and to stay his deposition set for Wednesday in Montgomery in an election challenge.

Libertarian candidate Elijah Boyd has challenged Cole’s election as the House District 10 representative based on Cole’s residency. APR first reported in October, a couple of weeks prior to the election, that Cole appeared to have falsified his address on his filing documents, apparently using the address of a family friend instead of his own. 

Since Boyd’s initial complaint in late November, Cole and his attorney, Al Agricola, have utilized every available legal option, and made every legal argument imaginable, seemingly in an effort to avoid a deposition. 

“Hopefully, we will finally get the answer to the question that Dr. Cole has fought and delayed for months to keep from having to answer under oath: Where do you live?” said Boyd’s attorney, Barry Ragsdale. “His lawyer keeps telling the courts that it is ‘a simple question.’ If that’s true, why has he spent so much time and money desperately trying to avoid answering it?”

There doesn’t appear to be a good answer. 

When presented with evidence of Cole’s actual residence in October, Cole’s campaign claimed that Cole and his family of five rented “space” from the family friend and moved in with the friend and his wife in a four-bedroom home. In the meantime, the Cole’s four-bedroom home in House District 4 is still owned by the Coles and listed on tax documents as the Cole’s homestead exemption property. 

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The campaign also said Cole and his wife rented an apartment in District 10. But the lease provided by the campaign wasn’t signed until September, just a couple of months prior to the election. Alabama law requires candidates to live in their districts for at least a year prior to the general election date.

Cole’s Republican colleagues appeared to try and bail him out of the jam by inserting language into a Statehouse construction bill that would have removed the election challenge process from state law. But that language was later quietly removed from the bill sometime prior to passage.

Once Cole’s deposition is completed, the transcript and all other relevant material collected in the case will be sent to the House clerk. A hearing before the House will be held sometime before the end of session and the House members will decide the outcome of the challenge. 

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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