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Judge denies second motion asking for a mistrial in Blakely case

Limestone Co. Sheriff Mike Blakely waves while entering courthouse

The judge in Limestone Co. Sheriff Mike Blakley's criminal trial denies second motion asking for a mistrial.

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 1:05 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2021 5:26 PM

Tuesday morning, the defense asked the judge for a second time to rule Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely's case a mistrial.

This comes after a separate motion was filed last night asking her to drop a theft charge and strike a state witness's testimony.
The judge denied the motion filed last night, along with the second motion for a mistrial.

This is all in regards to the state's witness Trent Willis. He is the CEO and founder of Red Brick Strategies, an advertising company that provided Blakely with ads during his re-election campaign.

In the defense's motion, Sheriff Blakely's attorneys claim Willis admitted to being a part of a conspiracy with Sheriff Blakely to defraud his political campaign account. They say the state failed to provide any of the evidence shown and referenced a state law that says prosecutors had to provide any evidence regarding a co-defendant or accomplice.

Prosecutors argued Willis was in no way an accomplice. They say Willis just gave Blakely a signed blank check, and it was Blakely who filled it out and used it for personal use. They add there was no way for Willis to know any type of crime was committed.

The defense further claimed state prosecutors intentionally withheld information regarding an investigation into Willis until the very end of their questioning.

Willis is also under investigation after being accused of stealing campaign funds, but the investigation is completely separate and unrelated to Blakely's case. Willis' testimony was put on hold last night when that investigation was brought up. That's when the defense asked the judge for a motion for mistrial, which the judge immediately denied.

The defense claims prosecutors never let them know about the investigation. However, in a motion filed early this morning, the prosecution said the defense "feigned surprise". Prosecutors argued the defense team knew about the investigation before their team did.

The assistant attorney general Jasper Roberts took the stand Tuesday morning and told the judge that he called the defense team once he confirmed a different division in the Alabama Attorney General's Office was investigating Willis. The defense team denies receiving the call, and Roberts could not recall who he spoke with on the defense team.

Prosecutors and the witness both said no deals or immunity were given in the investigation in exchange for Willis's testimony against Blakely.

After hearing from both sides, the judge struck the motion to dismiss Willis as a witness and he continued his testimony just after 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

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