Appellate Court Affirms Convictions of Lawyer and Coal Company Executive for Bribing State Legislator
BIRMINGHAM, AL (STL.News) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit yesterday affirmed the convictions of a Birmingham lawyer and an Alabama coal company executive in a scheme to bribe a state legislator to use his office to oppose Environmental Protection Agency actions in north Birmingham, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona.
A jury found former Balch & Bingham partner JOEL IVERSON GILBERT and former Drummond Company Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs DAVID LYNN ROBERSON guilty of bribery, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. At trial, the government showed that, after the EPA notified a Drummond Company subsidiary of its potential liability for cleanup costs, Gilbert and Roberson bribed former Alabama Rep. Oliver Robinson to advocate Drummond’s opposition to EPA’s prioritization or expansion of the north Birmingham Superfund site near Robinson’s district. The bribe came in the form of a consulting contract that paid Robinson $360,000 through the Oliver Robinson Foundation, a non-profit organization, between 2015 and 2016. In return, Robinson spoke to EPA officials and state environmental officials, secretly taping his meetings, and cast a vote for a state resolution drafted by Gilbert opposing the EPA’s efforts.