Birmingham Attorney, Coal Executive Found Guilty of Bribing State Lawmaker

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
(
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2018/07/33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel.jpg
        )

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:500;s:6:"height";i:333;s:4:"file";s:40:"2018/07/33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel.jpg";s:5:"sizes";a:6:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:40:"33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel-336x224.jpg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:224;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:40:"33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel-140x140.jpg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:38:"33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel-80x80.jpg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:40:"33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel-467x311.jpg";s:5:"width";i:467;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:40:"33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel-398x265.jpg";s:5:"width";i:398;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:40:"33064179853_a4876e0176_gavel-125x125.jpg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}
        )

    [_media_credit] => Array
        (
            [0] => allenallen1910
        )

    [_navis_media_credit_org] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

    [_navis_media_can_distribute] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

)
1561430162 
1532114380

An attorney with the Birmingham firm Balch & Bingham and an executive with coal company Drummond have been found guilty of bribing a state lawmaker to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from expanding a Superfund toxic cleanup site around north Birmingham.

Jurors found attorney Joel Gilbert and Drummond Vice President David Roberson guilty on six federal charges including bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. The verdict was announced Friday evening.

“We’re obviously pleased with the verdict. We believe that justice was done,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin, who led the prosecution. “We’re happy for the citizens of north Birmingham. Someone is finally speaking on their behalf.”

The EPA had designated part of north Birmingham as a Superfund site because of elevated levels of arsenic, lead and other substances in the soil. Such toxins are linked to coal production. The EPA notified Drummond and four other companies they could be held responsible and face millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

Prosecutors argued Drummond hired Balch & Bingham to oppose efforts to expand the Superfund site and to add the area to the National Priorities List, which would have fast-tracked the cleanup effort. They say Drummond’s Roberson and Gilbert bribed then-state Representative Oliver Robinson through a secret consulting contract in exchange for Robinson’s help opposing the EPA’s effort. Prosecutors say Robinson’s payments totaled $360,000. Robinson had pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution.

A third defendant, Balch & Bingham attorney Steven McKinney, was dismissed from the case earlier this week. Judge Abdul Kallon did not comment on the dismissal.

Drummond officials released the following statement after the verdict.

“We are disappointed by the jury’s decision to convict our employee, David Roberson. While we respect the judicial process, we consider David to be a man of integrity who would not knowingly engage in wrongdoing.

“When an environmentalist group raised allegations regarding our operations in the Birmingham area, Drummond responded by hiring one of Alabama’s most well-respected environmental law firms. As testimony in the trial showed, we were assured the firm’s community outreach efforts on our behalf were legal and proper.”

 

What to know about Alabama abortion rights after SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Here’s what the decision means for the Gulf South region.

Alabama OKs $725M bond sale to build 2 supersize prisons

That money will be added to $135 million in state funds and $400 million in pandemic relief dollars that the state already agreed to put toward the project.

Britt wins tumultuous Alabama Senate race scrambled by Trump

Katie Britt won the Republican nomination for Senate in Alabama Tuesday, defeating six-term Rep. Mo Brooks in a primary runoff after former President Donald Trump took the unusual step of rescinding his initial Brooks endorsement.

2022 Alabama primary runoff results

Republicans will be choosing between Katie Britt and Roy Moore as their nominee for U.S. Senate. Democrats will pick a nominee for governor between Yolonda Flowers and Malika Sanders-Fortier.

Voters go back to the polls Tuesday for primary runoffs

Party runoff ballots are fairly light for Tuesday’s election. But at the top of the Republican ballot is the nomination to the U.S. Senate. At the top of the Democratic ballot is nomination to the governor’s race.

More Front Page Coverage