Dismukes planning to avoid jail time by resigning House seat?

Will Dismukes' mug shot from his August 2020 arrest for felony theft of property charges.

This week The Montgomery Independent learned that State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, could be negotiating with prosecutors in a plea deal to keep him out of jail, but that deal will likely mean he must step down from his seat at the State House. Dismukes attorney, Trey Norman of Prattville, denies any knowledge of a plea deal.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. My client, Will Dismukes, is not negotiating with any prosecutors and vehemently maintains his innocence,” Norman says.

Dismukes was arrested in early August. He was charged with first-degree theft of property, a felony, in connection with a theft at a business where Dismukes worked.

His arrest came on the heels of some very troubling publicity when Dismukes posted to his own Facebook page that he participated in a birthday celebration for Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest.

Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey made the announcement of the first-degree theft of property charge at a press conference on the day of Dismukes arrest.

Bailey said his office launched an investigation after a complaint from the owners of Weiss Flooring in mid-May about alleged theft of a large sum of money by an employee.

“After countless hours of investigation, which consisted of witness interviews, obtaining bank records and gathering other evidence, a decision was made by myself and prosecutors in my office, along with these investigators, that probable cause existed that a crime had been committed,” Bailey said.

If Dismukes steps down he will be the second Alabama Legislator this year to resign his seat after alleged criminal activity. Last month former State Senator David Burkett was sentenced to 12 months of court supervised probation and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine but avoided jail time for misusing campaign finance funds.

Also last month, following years of legal tactics and delays, former Alabama Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Hubbard reported to jail in Lee County after the Alabama Supreme Court upheld his 2016 felony convictions for using his public office for personal gain.

If Dismukes steps down as part of a plea deal Governor Ivey will be required to call for a special election to fill the seat until the 2022 general election. Dismukes represents House District 88 which comprises parts of Autauga and Elmore Counties including the Cities of Prattville and Millbrook.