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Strange fights subpoena to testify in Barron trial

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 3, 2014 at 4:37 p.m.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama's attorney general is fighting efforts by former state Senate leader Lowell Barron to call him as a defense witness in Barron's trial on campaign finance charges.

Attorney General Luther Strange argues in court papers that he shouldn't be called as a witness because his office conducted the investigation that led to a grand jury indictment against Barron and a former campaign assistant. He also argues that he "has no direct knowledge about issues relevant to this criminal proceeding."

DeKalb County Circuit Judge Randall Cole has scheduled a hearing Friday in preparation for a trial starting April 14 in Fort Payne.

Barron, a Democrat from Fyffe, served in the Alabama Senate from 1982 until his defeat in 2010. He held a variety of leadership positions, including president pro tem of the Senate and Senate Rules Committee chairman.

Presented with the results of Strange's investigation, a DeKalb County grand jury indicted Barron and former assistant Rhonda Jill Johnson in April 2013 on charges of diverting $58,000 from Barron's 2010 campaign account and a campaign car for Johnson's personal use and for non-campaign uses. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Barron's attorney, Joe Espy, recently had a subpoena issued for Strange to testify at the trial.

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