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Montgomery Sen. David Burkette resigns

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – State Sen. David Burkette, D-Montgomery, resigned his seat in the Alabama Senate Tuesday, citing health concerns and discussions with prosecutors who have been investigating potential ethics violations.

His resignation letter to Gov. Kay Ivey and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, did not elaborate on the reasons why. In an interview Tuesday, Burkette confirmed the ongoing discussions with prosecutors, but said that he was bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss terms.

Multiple sources told Alabama Daily News that Burkette’s resignation was imminent after negotiating a plea agreement with state and local prosecutors for ethics code violations stemming back to his 2018 election to the Senate. Last year, the Alabama Ethics Commission referred unnamed ethics violations to Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey.

Representatives from Bailey’s office and the Attorney General’s office had no information of any plea agreements as of Tuesday afternoon.

Burkette said he is stepping down due to “mounting pressure” and concerns about his health in the coronavirus pandemic.

Burkette suffered a stroke in December 2018 and has worked through several months of therapy. His recovery progress was evident in the 2020 Regular Session of the Legislature.

“I’m just weary and it is time for me to step away and think about my health,” Burkette said.

Gina Maiola, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kay Ivey, on Tuesday evening said Ivey is disappointed, but firmly supports the rule of law, and particularly in this situation when there has been a clear misuse of public trust.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said Burkette represented his district well in the Senate even while recovering from the stroke.

“Sen. Burkette has served honorably,” Marsh said.

Marsh said that he understands Burkette’s possible prosecution is unrelated to his time in the Senate.

“I hate it,” Marsh said about the resignation. “He did a good job representing his district.”

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Marsh said the resignation isn’t official until its received by the secretary of the senate.

Secretary Pat Harris on Tuesday evening said he hadn’t yet received a letter from Burkette.

“Based on my family, I made the right decision. Based on my health, I made the right decision,” Burkette said. “I would never abandon my constituents. I would never turn my back on them.

“I’m going to miss the Senate. I hope people realize this is not Sen. Burkette’s plan, this is God’s plan.”

This story will be updated.

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