Longtime Alabama Rep. Jack Williams, 60, former state GOP Chairman Marty Connors, 61, and Trina Healthcare CEO Ford Gilbert, 70, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case with the assistance of the FBI.
Williams and Connors were shackled as they appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody Monday. Neither Williams nor Connors has a lawyer or entered a plea, but both indicated that they plan to hire counsel. Each is being released on bail.
Their arraignment hearing is set on April 18 at 1:30 p.m.
Gilbert, who lives in California , didn’t appear in court. According to the Department of Justice, Gilbert is the owner of a California company called Trina Health that operates diabetes treatment centers. The company opened three clinics in Alabama in 2014 and 2015. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama then informed Trina Health it wouldn’t cover the treatments.
Gilbert is accused of coming up with a plan to push a bill through the Alabama Legislature in 2016 that would require Blue Cross to cover the treatments. He allegedly paid House Majority Leader Micky Hammon to help with the bill and hired Connors to act as a lobbyist. Hammon and Connors then allegedly recruited Williams, the chairman of the Commerce and Small Business Committee, to hold a public hearing on the bill.
Connors and Williams knew about the payments to Hammon, according to federal authorities.
Connors, Gilbert and Williams are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery related to federal programs, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and honest services wire fraud. Additionally, the indictment alleges that Gilbert and Connors committed bribery related to federal programs. Gilbert is also charged with wire fraud, health care fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
Hammon wasn’t included in this indictment because he was already convicted in federal court on other charges.
Williams was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2004 and elected not to run for a state position this year, instead announcing his candidacy for Jefferson County Commission.