Tag: Louis V. Franklin Sr.
On Monday, April 2, U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin, the chief federal prosecutor in the Middle District of Alabama, dropped a bombshell. Alabama Rep. Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills and longtime state lobbyist Marty Connors have been indicted on bribery charges along with the California-based owner of a string of diabetes clinics.
Bringing charges of public corruption against high-ranking state officials is part of the work of U.S. attorneys such as Franklin, the U.S. Justice Department’s number one law enforcer for Montgomery County and the 22 other counties that make up Alabama’s Middle District.
Announcing that a politician is under indictment put a spotlight on the Montgomery-based U.S. Attorney’s Office this week, but the fact is that all USAOs share a set of operational priorities handed down by the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those areas are violent crime, opioid abuse, health care and financial fraud, terrorism and national security, and protecting vulnerable populations, he said.
From the dismantling of multistate crime rings to prosecution of corrupt officials, from pursuit of drug conspirators, human traffickers and terrorists to enforcement of civil rights laws, a U.S. Attorney’s Office is the local arm of the U.S. Justice Department.
Over the decades in Alabama, U.S. attorneys have taken on traditional crime fighting and high-profile cases, including prosecution of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombers. They’ve tackled cases that challenged Alabama government, including abuses in state prisons, restrictions on voting rights and the constitutionality of a state immigration law. U.S. Attorney’s Offices also have provided connective tissue between federal, state and local law enforcement departments on challenging issues such as the opioid crisis.
With the broad span of federal law, U.S. attorneys have an array of priorities they can pursue.
U.S. attorneys in Alabama have been among the appointees made early in the transition from President Barack Obama to President Donald Trump and with the appointment of Alabamian Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general.
BirminghamWatch talked with the state’s three U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump to find out their operational priorities.
“The United States attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer in any given district and therefore should be the leading law enforcement agency in setting priorities and the tone for the district,” said U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. “They should be leading the way with not only other federal agencies, but also supporting as best they can the state and local ones, whether it is through their task forces, joint efforts or training. State and local law agencies can often look to the federal level to help lead the way, and I think the U.S. Attorney’s Offices should be at the forefront of that.”
Read the interviews with Alabama’s U.S. attorneys: