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Lawyers: Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely being tested for coronavirus, can’t make trial date

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely

Blakely was indicted in August 2018 on a 13-count indictment that accuses the sheriff of taking money from his campaign account and from Limestone County funds.

Posted: Mar 6, 2020 8:13 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2020 9:00 PM

Lawyers for Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely say the sheriff is in the hospital and being tested for coronavirus.

Blakely was indicted in August 2018 on a 13-count indictment that accuses the sheriff of taking money from his campaign account and from Limestone County funds.

In a motion filed Friday to request a continuance of Blakely’s criminal trial that was set to begin Monday, lawyers say the sheriff:

* Is in Athens-Limestone Hospital and has a serious respiratory condition

* Is diagnosed with acute respiratory failure and asthma

* Is currently being tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)

The motion says Blakely was admitted to the hospital Friday and that his doctor expects him to be there “for at least two to three days.”

It says the doctor does not expect him to be available for trial on Monday.

In a letter submitted with the motion, Dr. Maria Acelajado Onoya confirms Blakely is in the hospital “for acute respiratory failure secondary to an asthma exacerbation,” that he’ll be in the hospital for possibly at least two to three days, will need rest afterward, and that he won’t be able to attend trial Monday.

Onoya’s letter makes no mention of the sheriff being tested for coronavirus.

WAAY 31 reached out to Dr. Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health late Friday to learn if the department was aware of any coronavirus testing at Athens-Limestone Hospital. 

"We cannot discuss any facility testing due to privacy. However, at this time, we have no pending COVID-19 tests in our Bureau of Clinical Laboratories," she said.

“I cannot discuss specific facilities due to privacy. At this time, I have no pending investigations for COVID-19 in Alabama.”

Judge Pride Tompkins has ordered that all attorneys involved in Blakely’s case be in his courtroom for hearing on Saturday morning. He also orders that Onoya either be in the courthouse or available by conference call.

In a separate filing Friday, Tompkins approved a motion from the state of Alabama to remove one theft of property charge and one use of position for personal gain charge from Blakely’s case.

He continues to face 11 other charges. Learn more about those HERE

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