LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – The lawyers for an Alabama sheriff scheduled to go to trial for multiple felony charges wrongly claimed he was being tested for the coronavirus when seeking to delay his upcoming trial.
Attorneys for Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely relayed to the court Friday via document that he was hospitalized and being tested amid the global concerns of COVID-19.
Yet that proved false.
It was revealed during a Sunday court hearing that Blakely, 69, was not tested for the illness.
The sheriff was hospitalized for respiratory issues but a doctor testified that there no was evidence it was related to the coronavirus.
“I don’t know what your tactic is, but it’s condemned by the court,” Circuit Judge Pride Tompkins told defense attorneys, according to The News Courier. “And the court won’t tolerate it.”
When the judge finished, defense attorney Robert Tuten stood to defend himself, saying the defense team was told Blakely was being tested for the coronavirus but did not understand there was more than one kind.
“There are apparently several different kinds of coronaviruses, but all we had to go on was what we knew at that moment,” he said.
Tuten said the defense thought it was important not to wait until Monday to alert the court of Blakely’s hospitalization and did not mislabel the virus intentionally, according to The News Courier.
“While we’re talking about this, let me just say I am here under protest and against the medical advice of my surgeon, forced to be here by you,” Tuten said. “We are doing the best we can, judge, but we are not trying to pull a fast one. We’re not trying to mislead anybody.”
A doctor said Blakely was tested for several things, including influenza and walking pneumonia, but the results came back negative. She said he would probably not be ready for his trial Monday, FOX reported.
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in Blakely’s criminal trial. He faces an 11-count indictment that includes theft and ethics charges related to his position as Limestone’s sheriff.