Judge Rules Turner Can Prosecute Romei Indictments

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District Attorney Bill Turner will be allowed to prosecute Former Arts Council Director P. David Romei.

That was the ruling from Judge Steve Smith Wednesday after he spent time considering the arguments for and against.

Turner will now prosecute three indictments against Romei, who is accused of stealing arts and city funds and using them for himself. The fourth indictment will be prosecuted by a visiting attorney.

Turner recused himself from that fourth case because he received a campaign contribution from Romei that allegedly was from stolen funds.

- Read the complete ruling from Judge Smith by clicking on the link below.

Smith ruled that the defense had not sufficiently proven three points:

- That Turner was an alleged victim. "Even if it was established that Turner was in fact a victim in the case in which he has voluntarily recused himself, such a situation would not bar him from prosecuting other cases against the same defendant," Smith wrote in his ruling.

- That Turner was a potential witness against Romei. The defense cited a rule from the state's Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct to support its claim, but Smith rejected the argument.

- That Turner and attorney Gaines West were working to have Romei prosecuted. "Defendant had the opportunity to call West as a witness to attempt to establish some improper relationship, but he did not do so," Smith wrote, referring to the October 18 hearing. "There is no evidence before the Court of any such relationship."

The defense is seeking to have West deposed, trying to figure out whether he provided the arts council confidential information about Romei when he was hired by the council during their investigation. Romei had hired West in 2005 on a separate matter.

In addtion to ruling that Turner can prosecute, Smith ordered that the state could not call Turner in any of the three cases he will prosecute. Turner had previously stated that his team would not call him to the stand.

Huntsville prosecutor Jack Choate has been brought in to prosecute Romei in the fourth indictment in which Turner's contribution is listed.