Day 16: Roberson’s Good Character vs. Balch’s Legal Advice

With the Alabama Media Group posting this morning a thorough and in depth profile of North Birmingham residents titled “We are a Forgotten Community,” the criminal bribery continued with closing arguments from Henry Asbill, defense attorney for David Roberson, the indicted Drummond executive.

Keeping to a united defense strategy, Asbill shredded bought-and-paid-for politician Oliver Robinson and dismissed the criminal charges asserting that Roberson was acting in “good faith” and just doing his job. Asbill also pointed out that Roberson relied on Balch’s legal advice.

Lauren Walsh of ABC 33/40 tweeted:

Asbill now stressing; “Evidence of good character (ALONE) may create reasonable doubt.” He has that on the screen right now with the word “ALONE” in red letters and caps.

Asbill: Character, good character, absolutely defines you as a human being. It’s not about your job, how much money you make, if you are rich or poor or where you live. What’s the essential core of your humanity? That’s the essential core of what character is about.

Asbill: My client is still employed at Drummond. The CEO said if he thought David Roberson was guilty, he would be gone in a new York minute.

Asbill now shows jury 13 “reasonable doubts”, including: -no agreement to bribe –Roberson relied on Balch’s advice that hiring OR Foundation was legal -Attorneys have a duty to advise clients of the law and no Balch or Drummond attorney told Roberson there was a problem

More of the “reasonable doubts”: -Roberson was transparent -Hiring ORF was for legitimate work -Payments made to OR Foundation not OR the individual -OR didn’t say he took a bribe in FBI interviews -good character – no financial interest or motive to commit the charged crimes

As we stated before the trial started, Roberson has a good chance of being acquitted.

We noted last month:

Although Roberson’s legal team lost their motion to bifurcate the case, the district judge wrote in his order:

But, as the Government notes, when [Gilbert and McKinney] testified before the grand jury neither codefendant could recall specific discussions with Roberson regarding the legality of the agreement with [Oliver] Robinson or about the decision to hire Robinson’s Foundation.

In addition, the judge wrote that “neither party has specifically identified any statements that ‘powerfully incriminate’ Roberson.”

Roberson and Drummond have argued they were given poor legal advice. The grand jury testimony shows they may have been given incomplete legal advice.

Prosecutors will give their final rebuttal shortly. We will have an update later as the jury deliberates.