Alabama Rep. Will Dismukes turns himself in on theft warrant
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Rep. Will Dismukes turned himself into authorities at the Montgomery County Detention Facility Thursday night on a warrant for first degree theft of property.
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey announced Thursday afternoon that an arrest warrant had been issued for Dismukes.
Dismukes is accused of stealing money from his former employer, Weiss Commercial Flooring Inc., over the course of two years. The amount is well in excess of $2,500, Bailey said.
“After countless hours of investigation, which consisted of witness interviews, obtaining bank records, and gathering other evidence - a decision was made by myself and prosecutors in my office, along with these investigators, that probable cause existed that a crime had been committed,” Bailey said.
Theft of property first degree is a Class B felony.
Trey Norman, Dismukes' attorney, accompanied Dismukes when he turned himself in. Norman said they have known about the investigation for less than five days.
"We came down yesterday, and Will has cooperated completely with the District Attorney's Office and their investigators," he said. "I will tell you this, without getting too much into the allegations, this has nothing to do with Will as a public servant or an elected state official."
Norman said this investigation involves private business.
"We're looking forward to getting the evidence," he said. "Under the circumstances I'll be surprised if there aren't some more charges coming down the road for other people."
Norman said Dismukes has never received a letter of inquiry that has accused him of any wrongdoing, but he won’t speculate on conversations between Dismukes and his former employer.
“I don’t think any money was taken by anyone,” he said. “Second of all, if I worked for someone and they accused me of taking money, I wouldn’t expect four years to go by before anyone said anything to me. If someone worked for me and I thought they were taking money, I wouldn’t wait four years.”
Bailey confirmed the reported theft occurred between June 2016 and January 2018, which was before Dismukes ran for public office.
A complaint was filed against Dismukes in May, launching the investigation that led to the subsequent theft charge.
Weiss Commercial Flooring Inc. is located in East Montgomery.
Dismukes told WSFA 12 News that he maintains his innocence.
Gov. Kay Ivey responded to the warrant, saying: “If true, it is disappointing when a public official, elected with the confidence of the people, abuses that trust. I support the letter of the law, and no one is above it – especially those in public office.”
ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan issued a statement via Twitter:
Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon added: “Like all Americans, Rep. Dismukes is due the presumption of innocence, and it is important to note that the crime of which he is accused was said to have occurred well before he announced his candidacy for the Alabama House. As a former law enforcement officer, I have faith in the criminal justice process and trust that he will receive a full and fair hearing. Both Democrats and Republicans have been accused of similar crimes in the past, and we cannot tolerate such behavior whether the lawmaker involved has a D or an R beside their name.”
Dismukes was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2018 and was sworn in the following year. He represents District 88, which covers Prattville, Millbrook and Coosada.
Less than a month ago, Dismukes made national headlines for attending a party to commemorate Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, hosted by an individual with close ties to the League of the South. Despite calls to resign from both Republicans and Democrats, Dismukes refused to step down from his political office, only walking away from a pastor position he held in Autauga County.
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