Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that they have charged state Rep. John Rogers, a longtime member of the Alabama House of Representatives, with attempting to obstruct a federal investigation into possible misuse of state grants.
The indictment accuses Rogers, D-Birmingham, and his aide of offering more grant money as a bribe to persuade a person to give false information to federal agents who were investigating possible bribes that prosecutors say were paid to the aide. by Rogers.
Rogers, 82, is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, and his deputy Varrie Johnson Kindall is charged with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and tax charges. Prosecutors first announced charges against Kindall last month.
Rogers has been a member of the Alabama House of Representatives since 1982.
Rogers did not immediately return a text message seeking comment. A public defender listed in court records as representing Kindall did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Rogers is the second lawmaker arrested in connection with the investigation. Former Rep. Fred Plump Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges in part of a deal with prosecutors.
Prosecutors wrote in the plea agreement that Plump took about $200,000 of the $400,000 in grant funds Rogers directed to his youth sports league over several years and returned it to Rogers’ assistant. Plump resigned from the Alabama House of Representatives.
The money came from the Jefferson County Community Services Fund, a pot of tax money distributed by area legislators for projects in the county.
Prosecutors said Rogers also directed grant money to another organization and that the organization’s founder, referred to as “Individual #1” in the indictment, also “gave a portion of that money to defendant Varrie Johnson Kindall.”
The indictment said that earlier this year Rogers and Kindall offered assistance in obtaining state grants as a bribe “to obstruct, delay and prevent Individual #1 from communicating information related to the violation of a criminal statute” to FBI and IRS agents. .