Charges Against Bedford Dismissed

Hamilton, AL – A judge has thrown out the extortion charges against state Senator Roger Bedford, saying the state failed to prove the powerful Democratic lawmaker had made a threat to commissioners in rural Marion County.

Circuit Judge Jerry White said today he didn't think any crime occurred. White said the prosecution had to show that Bedford threatened the commissioners and had the ability to carry it out.

Bedford, a Russellville legislator, was accused of trying to get county commissioners to buy land from a Bedford friend for three (m) million dollars, triple its appraised value, and getting the commission to buy a 75-thousand dollar parcel.

Bedford said quote -- "today we got past innuendo and got to the truth." He also said Republican Attorney General Bill Pryor and other Republicans used the charges first to try to defeat him in the 2002 election and, when that didn't work, to try to end his political career.

The judge dismissed the charges after the prosecution rested its case on the third day of the trial.