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Attorney says voters’ trust in coroner not misplaced

PRATTVILLE (AP) — An attorney for Autauga County coroner Billy Brown said his client is not guilty of the ethics and theft charges announced by Attorney General Troy King and claims they are politically motivated to keep him from running for sheriff.

Montgomery attorney Bruce Maddox reacted to Brown’s arrest Friday. King said the charges stem from the county jail fund when Brown was a sheriff’s deputy. Willie Mack Brown III, known as Billy Brown, is a Millbrook police officer as well as coroner.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Maddox said, “We intend to seek the earliest possible trial to clear Mr. Brown’s name. The people of Autauga County have placed great trust in Mr. Brown by overwhelmingly electing him coroner and his trial will demonstrate that their trust is not misplaced.”

Maddox said he expects a trial will reveal, among other things, that Brown spent jail funds for food for inmates at the instruction of the sheriff. He said Brown has “expressed his intention” to run for sheriff and the charges are aimed at keeping him from running.

Brown surrendered Friday at the Autauga County Sheriff’s Office. He was released on $2,000 bond.

King’s office presented evidence to an Autauga County grand jury, which indicted Brown on Wednesday. According to the indictment, more than $2,500 was taken from the sheriff’s office through spending unrelated to jail operations.

Brown is accused of using his position as a deputy for personal gain for himself or family members by taking unauthorized control of money from the jail fund. A conviction could bring two to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 for each of the two felony counts.

Brown previously was cited for improper spending by the Examiners of Public Accounts in a special report issued March 16 on the Autauga County Metro Jail Fund. The report covered a period from Sept. 1, 2004, through Aug. 28, 2006.

The audit report noted charges against Brown totaling $27,981, resulting from unallowable disbursements made from the Metro Jail Fund.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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