- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Republican Rep. Barry Moore of Enterprise was arrested Thursday on charges of perjury and giving false statements to law enforcement, making him the second legislator to face criminal charges in an ongoing investigation of state government.

Moore was charged with two counts of first-degree perjury and two counts of making false statements in a public corruption case under investigation by the Alabama attorney general’s office.

The charges come from Moore’s Jan. 24 testimony before a special grand jury. The panel convened by the attorney general’s office has been meeting in Lee County off and on since summer and few details of the case are known.

“It is a serious crime to provide false statements to a grand jury,” acting Attorney General Van Davis said in a statement about the arrest.

“All citizens who testify before a grand jury must testify truthfully - even elected public officials. Any witness who makes a false statement in the matter under investigation by the Lee County special grand jury will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of their political affiliation or position,” Davis said.

The Enterprise legislator turned himself in at the Lee County Jail. He was arrested and released on $10,000 bond, according to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.

Prosecutors accused Moore of answering questions falsely before a grand jury when a deputy attorney general, Matt Hart, asked if he had told his primary opponent that Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard had threatened to hold up money for a local economic development project if he ran against Moore.

“OK, and you didn’t assert to him that the speaker had, in fact made that threat?” prosecutor Matt Hart asked Moore, according to the indictment.

“No sir,” Moore replied.

Moore’s opponent, Josh Pipkin, said he had testified before the Lee County grand jury. Pipkin said he recorded a phone conversation with Moore discussing his candidacy and an economic development project for Enterprise.

Moore was first elected to the Alabama House in 2010. He owns a waste-hauling company in Coffee County.

Rep. Moore strenuously denies that he is guilty of any wrongdoing, or that he has perjured himself in any way, and he looks forward to being afforded a day in court to defend himself against these baseless charges,” a statement from the lawmaker said.

Moore went on to question the motivation behind the charges: “The timing of today’s charges, and the facts and circumstances surrounding this case are a clear indication of the political undertones of this prosecution.”

Hubbard attorney Mark White issued a statement saying he supported, “Moore being given the opportunity, guaranteed by the laws of the state of Alabama, to demonstrate his innocence and that he is the unfortunate victim of the abuse of power.

“We are confident that the citizens of Alabama will recognize and reject any misuse of the grand jury system to advance a political agenda or goal. Speaker Hubbard wants nothing more than to ensure that the law is followed fairly and is free of political and personal influence. Speaker Hubbard has at all times cooperated with law enforcement authorities,” White said.

Attorney General Luther Strange appointed Davis to handle the investigation after he stepped aside from the inquiry. The attorney general’s office has not commented on the subject of the investigation other than it involves potential public corruption in Alabama.

Former Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, earlier this month entered into a plea deal with prosecutors. Wren pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ethics charge and agreed to cooperate with state investigators.

Both the indictment against Moore and Wren’s plea agreement reference Hubbard.

Wren’s plea agreement says that Hubbard endorsed putting language into the state budget, which was taken out by the Senate, that could have directed state Medicaid pharmacy business to a Bessemer company that had hired Hubbard’s media company in Auburn.

Hubbard disputed the information in Wren’s plea agreement. In an interview with The Associated Press, Hubbard said he did not direct the language to be put in the budget.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide