AG Marshall explains course in possible Bentley investigation

AG Marshall explains course in possible Bentley investigation

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama's new Attorney General, appointed by Governor Robert Bentley on Friday, was formally introduced during a press conference Monday. Governor Robert Bentley appointed Steve Marshall to serve as the 48th Attorney General of Alabama on Friday.

Marshall, 52, arrived at his inaugural news conference to a standing ovation by fellow district attorneys, law enforcement officers, and victims' advocates; relationships he's built as a prosecutor over the last 15 years.

Marshall vowed to continue the work of the corruption unit, and prosecute public officials who break the ethics laws. He will meet with the corruption unit Tuesday morning to determine if Bentley is the target of an AG investigation. If so, he will personally recuse himself due to the perceived suspicion of bias.

"l have prosecuted people I go to church with, worked with, and I have had dinner with and know otherwise," Marshall stated. "But I also understand the circumstances of this appointment, and it is such people could believe I could not be fair, and if that's the case, then it's my obligation to recuse.  And I will."

From there, Marshall will consult the high court to determine who should appoint an attorney to oversee the investigation, or If the AG's office should be involved.

"Is there a sufficient taint to the entire process of appointing Luther Strange, and appointing me that causes the Attorney General's Office itself not to be involved?" Marshall said. "That won't be my call, that will be whoever has the opportunity to investigate an investigation."

When asked how Marshall will be accountable to the people of Alabama regarding the nature of this issue, Marshall simply said if there's no investigation, constituents will know.

"Then we need to be standing in this room explaining why there wasn't [an investigation]," Marshall said.  "It won't be me, it will be those who were here before me.  But if there is, the transparency will exist by me saying 'I recuse.'"

Marshall stated he is aware of the letter Sen. Luther Strange wrote to the chairman of the Legislative Impeachment Committee.  He plans to go to the Legislature to meet with lawmakers to determine the nature of the conversations between the Impeachment Committee and Sen. Luther Strange. If he is recused from an investigation, Marshall stated Impeachment Chairman Mike Jones will meet with the attorney appointed to oversee the AG's investigation.

Strange congratulated Marshall in a statement on Monday, saying:

I want to congratulate Steve Marshall on assuming the office of Alabama's Attorney General. Over his long career, Steve has demonstrated a commitment to law and order, and a dedication to rooting out crime and corruption, wherever he may find it. I am proud of the team we assembled during my tenure as Attorney General and I am pleased that Steve is empowering that team to continue the work we began. The rule of law in Alabama is in good hands.

According to the state, Marshall is a native of Atmore, Alabama.  He is the former District Attorney in North Alabama, where he served in that role in Marshall County for 16 years. He has also been the President of the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

As the first prosecutor to serve as attorney general in recent memory, many believe Marshall’s background will separate his leadership as AG from the rest. According to his biography, Marshall was instrumental in legislation that required a driver's license for Alabama residents to purchase ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products which are the main ingredient for making crystal meth.

Marshall also played a major role in the Brody Act, which holds criminals who kill or injure a mother's unborn baby accountable for two crimes.

"The same principles that have guided me in Marshall County will now guide me as I represent all the people of Alabama," Marshall said. "I will enforce the law fairly, I will stand up for victims, and I will do the hard work of attacking the underlying problems that threaten the safety of our communities. As Attorney General, a top priority will be to maintain an effective working relationship with our local law enforcement. Sheriffs, district attorneys, police, and investigators are the front lines of public safety and we will support them in every way possible."

Mr. Marshall is a past President of the Alabama District Attorney's Association and has served as Commission Chairman of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, a member of the Alabama Sentencing Commission, board member of the National District Attorney's Association and Kids to Love Foundation, and a Member of the United States Attorney's Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee for the Northern District of Alabama.

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