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Prosecution files last brief in appeal in Worley case

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The last legal brief in Nancy Worley's prosecution was filed with an appeals court Wednesday, and now it's up to the judges to decide whether to reinstate felony charges against the former secretary of state.

Attorney General Troy King filed a brief asking the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn a lower court order tossing out five felony charges against Worley. King argued that Montgomery Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs erred when he dismissed the charges in July.

There is no time frame on when the appeals court must rule.

A Montgomery County grand jury indicted Worley in March under a state law that makes it a misdemeanor for a public official to ask for campaign donations from employees and a felony for an official to use his or her position to influence the vote of any person. She was charged with five felonies and five misdemeanors, but her trial on the misdemeanor charges is on hold pending a ruling by the appeals court on the felony charges.

In a legal brief Wednesday, King argued that a jury, not a judge, should determine whether a crime occurred when Worley mailed letters and campaign contribution envelopes to her employees seeking their help in her re-election campaign in 2006.

In legal arguments filed three weeks ago, Worley's attorneys said it was wrong for the attorney general to bring felony charges against her because she did not make any threats in the letters. Instead, the letters told employees there would be no repercussions if they didn't support her.

King argued Wednesday that a jury should decide whether the letters were polite gestures or coercive attempts by a public official to influence her employees' votes and political actions.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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