Federal Prosecutors Seek Jail for Alabama Rep John Rogers in Bribery Case

Federal prosecutors are seeking to have Alabama state Representative John Rogers jailed, alleging that he violated the terms of his bond by attempting to contact a witness in his bribery case.

In September, a federal grand jury charged Rogers, a Democrat representing Birmingham, with obstruction of justice and obstruction of justice by bribery. The charges revolve around accusations that he offered public funds to the founder of a nonprofit organization in exchange for the founder providing false information to the FBI regarding a kickback scheme involving public tax dollars.

The prosecution now claims that Rogers made repeated attempts to contact the nonprofit founder, who serves as a key witness in the bribery case, despite a federal judge’s order prohibiting such contact.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin stated in court records that due to Rogers’ swift and flagrant violation of the release conditions, they are respectfully requesting the court to revoke Rogers’ bond and detain him in the custody of the United States Marshal until the trial.

When Rogers, who is 82 years old, appeared in court earlier this month and pleaded not guilty, U.S. Magistrate Judge Staci Cornelius granted him a $5,000 bond and ordered him not to communicate with any witnesses in the case, with the bond document sealed in federal court records.

According to federal prosecutors, just one week after this order, Rogers attempted to contact the witness twice via FaceTime.

Rogers, a long-serving legislator since 1982, has not responded to requests for comment at this time, and his attorney, John Robbins, has declined to make a statement.

A hearing has been scheduled for the upcoming Monday morning before Magistrate Judge Staci Cornelius in federal court in Birmingham.

The witness, identified as “Individual #1” in court records, remains unnamed in the public sphere. Nevertheless, in their recent filing, Martin mentioned that federal prosecutors disclosed Individual #1’s identity to Rogers’ attorney in an email just one day before the two FaceTime calls occurred.

Individual #1 is the founder of a nonprofit organization referred to as “Organization #1” in court records.

The indictment alleges that in 2019, Rogers twice provided funds to Organization #1 through the Jefferson County Community Service Fund, which consists of local tax dollars allocated by lawmakers to various community groups, causes, and local governments. Rogers’ longtime assistant, Varrie Johnson Kindall, was implicated in this scheme as she received a portion of the money by requiring the organization to pay her an “administration fee.”

This prompted an FBI investigation. Subsequently, the indictment asserts that Rogers attempted to bribe the organization’s founder by offering additional funding from the community service fund in exchange for false statements to the FBI regarding payments to Johnson Kindall.

The federal grand jury also charged Johnson Kindall with various offenses, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and obstruction of justice by bribery, among others. She has pleaded not guilty to all of these charges.

Rogers vehemently denies any wrongdoing and is determined to prove his innocence, stating, “All I can say right now is it didn’t happen, and I’ve got proof it didn’t happen. I am totally confident. I can’t wait to go to court.”

Notably, Rogers and his assistant were previously linked to another kickback scheme involving funds from the Jefferson County Community Service Fund. In that case, State Representative Fred Plump pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruction of justice, resulting in his resignation from the Alabama legislature.

Plump admitted to defrauding the fund for his nonprofit, the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League, by diverting grant funds to Johnson Kindall for a fictitious dance team, which she allegedly used for personal expenses. Rogers was mentioned but not charged in that case.

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