Former west Alabama county commissioner convicted of felony ethics violation

By: Press release
By: Press release

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Troy King announced the conviction today of former Washington County Commissioner Johnny Leroy Johnston, of McIntosh, for a felony ethics violation and intimidation of a witness.

Johnston was sentenced, for each count, to five years to run concurrently, which was suspended, and he was placed on probation for five years.

In addition, he was ordered to pay $1,000 restitution to the Washington County Commission, ordered to pay court costs, and a $100 fee to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

Johnston’s term expired and he did not run for re-election in 2008, following his indictment.

The Attorney General’s Office presented evidence to a Washington County grand jury resulting in Johnston’s indictment last August.

Today, he pleaded guilty to intentional misuse of his public office for illegal personal gain.

The then-commissioner obtained dirt or sand that belonged to Washington County and had it placed on his personal property.

Johnston also admitted to the charge of intimidating a witness, by threatening someone that he believed would be called as a witness in a grand jury proceeding, in an attempt to corruptly influence that person’s testimony or cause the witness to be absent.

As a condition of Johnston’s probation, he was ordered to have no contact with the victim of his intimidation.

“Once again, someone who was a public official of Washington County has been found guilty of illegally misusing his position,” said Attorney General King.

“It is extremely serious and disturbing anytime a public official violates the laws he has sworn to uphold and abuses the office with which he was entrusted. Our investigation and prosecution of corruption in Washington County should serve as assurance to the citizens of this county and throughout Alabama that I remain steadfast in my commitment to enforce the law based upon the facts and the evidence, with no regard for an individual’s position or power.”

Johnston is the second Washington County Commissioner to be convicted in recent times by Attorney General King’s Office.

In May of 2008, Commissioner Willie Lewis Dixon was removed from office upon his conviction for two counts of intentionally using his office for personal gain.

Attorney General King commended Assistant Attorney General Bill Lisenby, chief of his Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division; Assistant Attorney General Laura Irby Cuthbert, also of the Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division; Special Agent J.W. Barnes, of the Attorney General’s Investigations Division, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, for their excellent work in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.


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