Longtime Alabama Sheriff Convicted on Theft, Ethics Charges

FILE - This booking photograph released by the Limestone Sheriff's Office shows Sheriff Mike Blakely following his arrest on theft and ethics charges on Aug. 22, 2019. Blakely is set to stand trial nearly two years after he was indicted. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday, July 12, 2021, for the Limestone County sheriff, who has continued to serve despite facing a dozen felony counts alleging he stole campaign donations, got interest-free loans and solicited money from employees. (Limestone County Sheriff's Office via AP)

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — A longtime Alabama sheriff has been removed from office, the attorney general’s office said, after jurors on Monday found him guilty of charges of theft and using his office for personal gain.

Jurors convicted Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakley of two counts but found him not guilty of eight others. After nearly 40 years in office, Blakely was escorted out of the courtroom by one of his own deputies and taken to the same jail that he oversaw as sheriff. He was not placed in handcuffs as he left the courtroom.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said Blakely will be immediately removed from office on Monday because of the felony convictions.

The two convictions relate to accusations that Blakely borrowed money from a jail safe used to hold inmates’ money and that he deposited $4,000 in campaign funds into his personal account.

“The attorney general’s office is committed to ensuring the violators of the public trust be held accountable under the law,” Crenshaw said, reading a statement from the Alabama attorney general’s office. “Today Sheriff Blakely has been held to account for felony violations of the Alabama ethics law as well as a theft charge.”

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