An Anniston city councilman indicted on ethics charges in 2019 has pleaded guilty to the use of his office for personal gain, court records show.
According to a document filed Monday in Calhoun County, Jay Jenkins pleaded guilty on March 25 to using his official position or office for personal gain. The charge comes with two years of probation and a fine of $250, according to The filing.
Jenkins was accused in 2019 of abusing his position after he voted with a majority of the City Council to lease space in the Anniston Star office building for a temporary City Hall. Jenkins’ wife works in the advertising office of the Star.
The Alabama Ethics Commission ruled in October 2019 that there had been an ethical violation and sent the case to the district attorney for prosecution. Jenkins initially pleaded not guilty to the charge. The reasons behind the plea change were unclear Monday.
The case had been stalled largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which put a hold on jury trials, Assistant District Attorney David Johnston told The Star last month.
Jenkins declined to comment Monday, though he did confirm that the outcome would not affect his position as a City Council member.
Ben Little, a former councilman who served alongside Jenkins, had faced an ethics charge earlier in 2019, and a Jefferson County jury ruled that he had unintentionally violated ethics laws. Little received probation and remained on the council.
Little’s case had been moved to Birmingham after local judges recused themselves, with the intent of avoiding the appearance of any conflict of interest by ruling judgment on a local public official.
Similarly, Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge Bud Turner recused himself late last month from Jenkins’ case before the plea was announced.