Evidence of gambling and drinking will be allowed in Limestone County sheriff's criminal trial

The judge is still determining whether state financial audits will be allowed in the case.

Posted: Apr 12, 2021 4:41 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2021 6:47 PM

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely had a status hearing Monday afternoon.

He's currently facing 11 ethics and theft charges. His criminal trial is expected to begin July 12, more than a year since his trial was originally supposed to take place.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely

The newly-appointed judge to the case, Judge Pam Baschab, ruled against the defense's efforts to keep evidence related to gambling and drinking out of the trial.

Blakely's attorney, Robert Tuten, argues prosecutors want to assassinate the sheriff's character by taking legal actions and "making it sinister." He adds the sheriff's habits and hobbies are not relevant to the case.

However, prosecutors disagreed and said the evidence was necessary to prove Blakely's guilt. They added they had no intent for character assassination and that the evidence that would be used involves specific charges and actions.

With the judge's ruling, the evidence will be allowed in the trial.

Judge Baschab is also considering whether or not to allow state financial audits in the trial.

The defense says the audits will prove no money was actually missing, but prosecutors say the audits would not prove anything since some of the theft charges relate to how the sheriff spent the money, not whether or not it was out of place. The judge says she will enter an order once she makes a decision.

The attorneys and the judge are expected to meet the week of May 17 to discuss logistics in the case. Jury summons will be sent out on May 10. A questionnaire to produce a more efficient trial will then be sent 2 weeks after on May 24.

The judge and all the lawyers involved say they expect a normal trial without any social distancing this summer.

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