Sumter County Commissioner A.J. Hurley. SOURCE: Sumter County Commission website.
ALBANY, Ga. — Jury selection is set to begin today un U.S. District Court in Albany in the bribery trial of Sumter County Commissioner A.J. Hurley.
Hurley is accused of agreeing to accept $20,000 in bribes from an unidentified asbestos abatement company licensed in Michigan in order to influence the vote of a contract before the Sumter County Commission, according to the indictment levied against him by a federal grand jury in May.
The government contends Hurley received two bribes.
Hurley has denied the accusations and maintains his innocence. The trial is slated to begin today before U.S. District Court Judge Louis Sands.
Court documents show that Terrance Parker, a contractor from Michigan, began cooperating with government prosecutors in mid October 2011 after he pleaded guilty to an unrelated corruption probe in Michigan. It is Parker who contends that he met Hurley in 2009 and the two agreed that Hurley would help Parker get contracting work in exchange for a cash bribe.
During the trial, the government intends to play recorded audio files of conversations that occurred between October and December 2011 in which prosecutors say Hurley agreed to exert his influence as a board member to "steer county and other contracts to Parker in exchange for cash payments," court records show.
"To that end, the defendant accepted two cash payments from Parker — the first on October 23, 2011, and the second on December 19, 2011," Jack Smith, the chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Division, wrote in a court document. "Over the course of approximately two months, the defendant sought payments totaling $20,000. However, after the defendant accepted the second payment from Parker, the FBI approached the defendant, ending the covert investigation before he could carry out his promises to help Parker secure contracting business."