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Worley seeks delay in trial

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Attorneys for former Secretary of State Nancy Worley have asked a judge to delay her criminal trial, which is scheduled to start Monday.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs Jr. has scheduled a status conference Wednesday, where he could decide whether to go forward with the trial accusing Alabama's former chief elections officer of violating election laws.

In court papers, the former Decatur High School teacher's attorneys seek the delay because she recently changed lawyers and because they say the attorney general hasn't turned over all the statements from people who were interviewed in the investigation.

Defense attorney James Anderson said Tuesday some of the evidence that the attorney general's office turned over to the defense team is on CDs that won't open properly, and no statements were turned over from some of the secretary of state's employees mentioned in the indictment.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Ben Mark Baxley said the state has turned over everything, and the trial shouldn't be delayed.

"The state is ready for trial," Baxley said in court documents.

In an interview Monday, Worley said her attorneys want the delay, but she is ready to get the trial concluded.

"I always quote the Jerry Clower story where he was chased up a tree by a bobcat and he told someone on the ground, 'Shoot up here among us. One of us needs some relief,' " she said.

After an investigation by Attorney General Troy King's staff, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Worley in March on five felony counts of soliciting campaign contributions from five employees and five misdemeanor counts of using her official position to influence the votes or political actions of the same five employees.

Worley, a Democrat, was running for re-election when she sent a letter, bumper sticker and campaign contribution envelope to her employees on April 26, 2006. In the letter, Worley wrote that she would be honored if the employees put the bumper stickers on their vehicles, but she added that employees could support another candidate "without any problems from me."

Worley was facing one of her employees, Ed Packard, in the June Democratic primary, and he filed a complaint with the attorney general, who started an investigation that led to the indictment.

Worley won the Democratic primary but lost the general election in November to Republican Beth Chapman. In January, she was elected first vice chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, and then she got indicted in March.

Since the indictment, Worley has changed attorneys three times and is now back to her original attorney, Anderson of Montgomery, plus a new attorney, Don Jones of Montgomery.

Worley, a two-time president of the Alabama Education Association, has been free since her indictment and has been going ahead with her normal activities.

She has asked the judge for permission to leave the state June 25 for nearly two weeks to go to Philadelphia for a convention of the National Education Association, AEA's parent organization.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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