State Lawmaker, Former State GOP Head Charged in Corruption Scheme

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An Alabama state lawmaker and the former head of the state Republican party have each been arrested in connection with a public corruption scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice announced the charges Monday against state Representative Jack Williams, a Republican from Vestavia Hills, and Marty Connors, a lobbyist and former chairman of the Alabama Republican party.

US Attorney Louis Franklin in Montgomery charged a third person– health care executive G. Ford Gilbert, of Carmichael, California. Gilbert owns Trina Health, which operates diabetes treatment centers around the world. He opened three clinics in Alabama in 2014 and 2015. But according to the indictment, the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, soon after refused to cover treatments at Trina Health. So Gilbert allegedly worked with Williams, the state lawmaker and Connors, the lobbyist, to force a bill through the legislature to make Blue Cross change its position.

Gilbert paid former state House Majority Leader Micky Hammon to back the bill, according to the indictment. And he hired Connors as a lobbyist. The indictment says Williams was recruited to hold a public hearing on the bill.
Charges for all three defendants include conspiracy to commit bribery related to federal programs and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The indictment doesn’t include charges against Hammon, who has already been convicted on federal corruption charges in 2017.

If convicted, the three men could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and financial penalties.

 

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