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Federal prosecutors seek to jail Rogers over contact with witness

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to jail an Alabama lawmaker charged with trying to obstruct an investigation into alleged kickbacks.

In a motion filed this week, prosecutors said state Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat from Birmingham, violated the conditions of his bond by attempting to contact a key witness in the case. Prosecutors said Rogers made FaceTime calls to the witness a week after his arraignment. The witness did not answer and reported the calls to federal investigators.

Rogers’ defense attorney asked the court to provide a transcript of the lawmaker’s Oct. 12 arraignment and the judge’s instructions to the lawmaker. The defense lawyer said the transcript is needed to prepare a response to the prosecutor’s request.

Prosecutors have accused Rogers and his assistant of offering additional grant money as a bribe to persuade a person to give false information to federal agents who were investigating possible kickbacks. They say those bribes were paid to Rogers’ assistant.

Rogers, 82, is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice. His assistant, Varrie Johnson Kindall, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and tax charges. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Rogers has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 1982.

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