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Alabama legislator named as suspect in voter fraud probe

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The state attorney general filed court papers Thursday naming state Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and others as suspects in a voter fraud investigation in West Alabama.

The court papers also accuse Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins of trying to impede the Hale County investigation to "protect members of his family," including Singleton.

Attorney General Troy King asked the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to force Wiggins to step aside from one part of the voter fraud investigation because his sister, former Hale County Circuit Clerk and absentee election manager Gay Nell Tinker; his brother-in-law and former bailiff, Sen. Singleton; and his first cousin, Carrie Reaves, "are suspects in the instant investigation and are directly benefiting from the court's quashing of the search warrant and subpoenas."

Singleton said Thursday he had not seen the court filing and wanted to discuss it with his attorney before commenting.

Tinker and Wiggins did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

In August, an investigation by the attorney general's office led to former Greensboro City Council member Valada Paige Banks and Rosie Lyles of Greensboro being arrested on charges of possessing a forged absentee voter affidavit and four counts of promoting illegal absentee voting. The women have pleaded not guilty.

The charges stemmed from a special election held in 2004 to fill a vacant state Senate seat. Singleton, then a member of the Alabama House, won the Senate race. The charges also involved an election in 2005 to fill Singleton's House position.

Oct. 7, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Singleton and others participated in a rally in support of the two women.

The attorney general turned to the Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday after Wiggins quashed a subpoena directing Millarstine Coleman to provide handwriting samples and blocked attorney general's subpoenas for handwriting samples.

The attorney general's court filing says the office has been investigating "a conspiracy among as many as 16 individuals, including Coleman and relatives of Judge Wiggins, to commit voter fraud by fraudulently executing and verifying affidavits of absentee voters in several Hale County elections."

The court papers also include an affidavit from an investigator for the attorney general's office, George Barrows, who says he took a statement from a witness who said his name was forged on an absentee voting document. Singleton's name appeared on the document as a witness verifying the signature of the voter as being correct, the court papers said.

Earlier in the investigation while Tinker was still circuit clerk, she issued an arrest warrant charging the attorney general's investigator with harassment, but it was dismissed.

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

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