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Human trafficking trial underway in Lauderdale County

Trial is officially underway in a human trafficking case involving a former Florence attorney and his friend.

Posted: Feb 14, 2019 9:15 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2019 9:22 PM

Trial is officially underway in a human trafficking case involving a former Florence attorney and his friend.

The attorney general says Chip Dillard used his position as an attorney to traffic women. The attorney general charged him and Staggs in 2016, and both men are on trial right now.

Staggs (left) and Dillard (right)

Staggs (left) and Dillard (right)

The attorney general's office believes Staggs and Dillard had at least six victims, and on Thursday, the courtroom heard powerful testimony from one of the victims in the case, She described various forms of abuse and how she felt forced to exchange sexual favors for legal help and drugs.

The victim took the stand saying when she was 22, Staggs had asked her to come clean one of his properties. She said when she got there, Staggs exposed himself and asked her to have sex in exchange for money. She said she went along with it.

This victim went on to say that Staggs got her hooked on Xanax. The victim said she went to jail in Lauderdale County, and Dillard represented her as her attorney, ultimately getting her out of jail. She said Dillard's legal help came with a price; she had to have sex with Staggs as payback for Dilliard representing her.

The victim also testified she saw Staggs hit her pregnant sister in the back of the head with a gun, because she did not want to have sex with him. She said she had sex with Dillard once in exchange for drugs because she was dope sick.

This victim went on to say that Staggs would become violent or threaten putting her back in jail if she did not have sex with him.

The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Friday and is expected to last at least two weeks.

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