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Cost for defending transgender care ban grows

The Alabama AG’s office recently entered contracts for nearly $1 million for outside attorneys to defend the transgender care ban.

The costs to defend Alabama’s likely unconstitutional ban on medical treatments for transgender children continue to mount. 

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office confirmed on Tuesday that it has entered into five legal contracts totalling nearly $1 million for outside attorneys to assist in the defense of Alabama’s “Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act.” The act prohibits a variety of approved medical procedures for minors. 

Similar acts have been declared unconstitutional by federal judges in other states, including judges appointed by Republican presidents in conservative states. In Alabama, a Trump-appointed federal judge has already blocked much of Alabama’s law. 

But that hasn’t stopped the taxpayer expenses from continuing to grow. 

The state has already paid at least $1.7 million in contracts for expert witnesses and attorneys in the federal challenge to the act. Last Thursday, the AG’s office presented five additional legal contracts – all for attorneys from the D.C. law firm Cooper & Kirk, a go-to boutique firm that specializes in representing Republicans – for $195,000 each. 

While the AG’s office confirmed that the contracts were related to the transgender care ban, it did not specifically address why those attorneys were necessary. 

It’s also unclear whether the state has entered into additional contracts for expert witnesses. The Legislature, during the previous session, passed a bill allowing the AG’s office to redact the names of expert witnesses from contracts that appear before the Contract Review Committee. 

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In January, prior to the legislative session, APR reported that the AG’s office had entered into five expert witness contracts totaling $375,000. 

The AG’s office also entered into a contract for $108,000 with Virginia attorney Jeffrey M. Harris. That contract did not specify a current open case, but Amanda Priest, director of communications for the AG’s office, said that Harris is being retained to assist with “redistricting issues.”

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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