WAAY 31 took a closer look at the five-page criminal indictment against the longest-serving sheriff in Alabama.
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely is facing multiple theft charges after an investigation launched last October by the Alabama Attorney General's Office.
A Limestone County grand jury, made up of 16 of Sheriff Blakely's taxpayers, indicted him on 13 theft and ethics charges.
The indictment says he stole money from campaign contributions, law enforcement funds, and inmates' personal funds that were kept in a safe inside the sheriff's office. Some of these accusations date back to 2014.
The indictment states he stole from his campaign account four separate times. In all, he's accused of taking $11,000 from that account.
The indictment also states he used his official position for personal gain in the form of an interest-free loan.
The indictment says Blakely solicited a $1,000 wire transfer from a subordinate to use for himself, a family member, or a business with which he is associated.
This comes seven months after a sheriff's office employee filed an official complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor about having to work the annual sheriff’s rodeo without pay.
That complaint, filed back in February, also states that deputies were forced to do patrol work while off-duty.
The government found two violations and the sheriff’s office settled for $50,000. That money was distributed among its employees.
It's unclear if the U.S. Department of Labor complaint and some of the charges Blakely now faces are related.
WAAY 31 has learned, if the Limestone County sheriff is convicted of the 13 charges against him, he may never have to spend a day behind bars. We spoke with an attorney about the charges.
While Mike Blakely may be the longest-serving sheriff in Alabama, if he's convicted of theft and ethics charges, he would have to give up his position.
The sheriff was re-elected in November of 2018 by the same constituents who indicted him on 12 felony charges and a misdemeanor.
The charges come with different levels of punishment. Some carry minimum to no jail time and just fines. Others could mean up to 20 years in prison.
However, if convicted, the judge has the right to give Sheriff Blakely probation, so he'd serve no time, as long as he follows the conditions set by the judge.
No trial date has been set for Sheriff Blakely at this time.
The Attorney General's Office told WAAY 31 that Blakely will remain in his position as sheriff, pending the outcome of his criminal case.
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