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Defense gets started in Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s criminal trial

The defense moving through witnesses as they try to make their case that sheriff Blakely never acted with criminal intent.

Posted: Jul 28, 2021 6:23 PM
Updated: Jul 29, 2021 1:32 PM

Another full day of witness testimonies in the criminal trial of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely.

The defense moving through witnesses as they try to make their case that Blakely never acted with criminal intent.

Wednesday was the first full day of witness testimony from the defense, and they are moving along very quickly. They expect to rest their case by Thursday.

Jurors heard from seven witnesses on Wednesday. One of them, Limestone County commissioner Jason Black, was subpoenaed by the state. But, the state never actually asked him to testify.

Wednesday, jurors heard Black's testimony as one of three people who left the 2016 Gulf Shores conference with Blakely to go golfing in Biloxi. He said he's never known Blakely to be dishonest or do anything illegal.

As an elected official, Black said he would never let a friendship get in the way of what is best for the county. However, he also added that he is a close friend of Blakely, and would not want to see him convicted.

Another notable testimony came from Assistant Jail Administrator Tammy Waddell. She contradicted herself as the state played back a recording from a past conversation Waddell had with the state's case agent.

Waddell also attended the 2016 conference in Gulf Shores, and she has worked at the Limestone County Sheriff's Office since the late 90s.

During direct questioning by the defense, Waddell said she saw Blakely on Tuesday of the conference and then remembers him leaving to go golfing in Biloxi.

However, during cross-examination, the state played a recording from a previous conversation Waddell had with their case agent back in 2019. In that recording, Waddell says Blakely attended every course at the conference with her, and that he never left Gulf Shores.

Wednesday, Waddell clarified that she was confused between the 2016 conference and a conference the following year where Blakely did attend courses with her. At the time of the recording, Waddell was not sure which conference the agents were talking about.

Waddell also added that she felt intimidated by the agents and thought they expected her to give a certain answer. The state asked why she didn't report the intimidation or bring it up during any of her past conversations with the Attorney General's office. Waddell said maybe she would have if she felt more comfortable with their office.

It's important to note jurors have not yet heard from Blakely himself. With things expected to wrap up on Wednesday, if he choses to take the stand they could be hearing from him very soon.

The judge asked the prosecution if they plan to have any rebuttal testimonies, and they said it's definitely a possibility. So even if the defense makes their case on Wednesday, the jurors could still hear from more witnesses.

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