Jailed Alabama Sheriff Asks Judge to Overturn Conviction

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) —Attorneys for an Alabama sheriff who was removed from office because of theft and ethics violations asked a judge Thursday to declare a mistrial because a juror didn’t want to vote guilty.

The defense for former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely filed a sworn statement from a juror, Sue Pentecost, who claimed medical conditions including atrial fibrillation and cancer caused her to give in and vote to convict the longtime sheriff.

“I wanted to get out of that room because I feared I was about to die from either a stroke or brain bleed caused by my AFib and not the words or stress of others,” the statement said. “My medical conditions put me at an extreme risk of both of those.”

Prosecutors did not file an immediate response.

Blakely was convicted Monday on two felony counts of theft and ethics violations. Prosecutors accused him of borrowing money from a jail safe used to hold inmates’ money and depositing $4,000 in campaign funds into his personal account.

Acquitted on other charges, Blakely denied any wrongdoing. He is now being held in the jail he ran for nearly 40 years and faces a possible prison term of between two and 20 years for each count at a sentencing hearing set for Aug. 20.

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