By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A day after being arrested on corruption charges, state Rep. Jack Williams issued a statement saying he has “done nothing wrong” and believes he will be found innocent.
Williams broke the silence over the federal charges announced Monday against him, lobbyist Marty Connors and G. Ford Gilbert, the California-based owner of Trina Health diabetes treatment centers. The three were charged in an alleged bribery conspiracy regarding payments authorities say Gilbert allegedly made to then-state Rep. Micky Hammon to promote an insurance bill that would have benefited his company.
“I have done nothing wrong, and once the facts are presented, I expect to be found innocent,” Williams said in a statement.
The Vestavia Hills lawmaker is retiring from the House of Representatives this year as he seeks election to the Jefferson County Commission. Williams said he has no plans to step down early and will continue his campaign for the Jefferson County Commission. His attorney, Jake Watson, said Williams “absolutely denies any wrong doing of any sort.”
Hammon had a small ownership interest in a Trina clinic in Alabama. According to the indictment, Gilbert gave things to Hammon, such as money and offers to repay his creditors, to get Hammon to benefit Trina Health in the Alabama Legislature. Federal prosecutors said that included promoting 2016 legislation — which ultimately failed — which would have required Blue Cross and Blue Shield to cover treatments at Trina clinics.
Prosecutors said that Williams took action to aid the legislation — including calling a public hearing before the committee he chaired — knowing that “Trina Health had offered and given things of value” to Hammon and that Hammon would gain financially by Blue Cross covering the treatments.
Watson said Williams will present “his side of the story in the courtroom, rather than the media.”
Hammon was removed from the Alabama Legislature last year when he pleaded guilty to illegally using campaign funds for personal use. A judge in February sentenced Hammon to three months in prison for felony mail fraud.
No additional charges were announced against Hammon related to the alleged bribery scheme.
Williams and Connors are set to appear in court for arraignment April 18.