Rep. John Rogers indicted on two counts of obstruction of justice
Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, speaks during the session of the Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Stew Milne for Alabama Reflector)
Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, was indicted Wednesday on two counts of obstruction of justice and obstruction of justice by bribery.
The indictment accuses Rogers, who has served in the Alabama House for over 40 years, of directing hundreds of thousands of dollars for public projects in Jefferson County to a youth baseball league, with a portion of the money being kicked back to Varrie Johnson Kindall, an administrative assistant the indictment accuses Rogers of having a romantic relationship with.
Prosecutors also accused Rogers of attempting to convince a person identified as “Individual #1” to give false information to criminal investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) looking into the transactions.
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Rogers could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. Attempts to reach the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Wednesday were not successful.
Rogers has served in the Alabama House for over 40 years. His indictment comes months after former Rep. Fred Plump, D-Fairfield, the director of the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League, pleaded guilty to similar charges over the use of public money.
In late May, the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused Plump, a freshman representative, of taking money from the Jefferson County fund under the direction of another Jefferson County legislator identified as “Legislator #1” and kicking back a portion of it to a legislator’s assistant.
Rogers said at the time he was “probably” the unnamed “Legislator #1,” but maintained his innocence.
According to the indictment, between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2022, Rogers was allocated approximately $500,000 by the Jefferson County Community Service Fund for Jefferson County programs. Prosecutors accuse Rogers of moving approximately $400,000 of those discretionary funds to the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League. In turn, Plump gave approximately $200,000 to Kindall. Kindall was previously identified as “Individual #1” in Plump’s DOJ charges.
Rogers also moved money from the fund to “Organization #1.” The organization founder, “Individual #1,” then gave a portion of that money to Kindall.
Rogers has served House District 52, which includes portions of Birmingham, since 1982. He ran unopposed in the previous two elections. In 2014, he was challenged by Republican Phillip Bahakel but won with almost 77% of the vote.
Rogers is the third representative to face criminal charges this year. Rep. David Cole, R-Huntsville, pleaded guilty to a voting fraud charge and resigned in August after acknowledging he did not live in House district at the time he was elected.
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