The trial for Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) director John Cooper has been continued in Marshall County.
Cooper was arrested in June after a neighbor claimed he threatened to shoot him over a land dispute. Cooper, 75, of Langston, was charged with misdemeanor harassment/intimidation.
A bench trial was scheduled for August 2, the same week that ALDOT is set to host a regional transportation conference in Mobile.
Attorney George Barnett, Cooper's personal attorney, said at the time of Cooper's arrest that the ongoing land dispute led to the false claims against his client. He said at the time, the best way for the issue to be resolved was to have the Court decide on the land dispute over an easement.
In court filings asking for the trial to be delayed, the State said the ongoing civil case was filed on July 12, and all parties need the civil case to be resolved before the criminal case continues.
"Because of the brief existence of the civil case and its closely related facts, it is in the interest of both parties to be informed regarding the resolution of the easement issue before the criminal case proceeds," the filing reads. "The State requests that the case be continued six months to give the civil case time to process through the system."
Marshall County District Judge Mitchell Floyd granted the motion to continue until January.
The civil suit was filed by Cooper in the name of his company, South Sauty Creek Resort, Inc., against the neighbor who pressed criminal charges against him, Gerald Carter. The suit also names Carter's wife and First State Bank, where the Carters' mortgage is held. Cooper claims the easement the Carters are trying to use to gain access to their property does not exist. The suit claims the Carters trespassed on Cooper's property after a warning.
George Carter told 1819 News the easement was deeded to his family and that Cooper's wife previously signed a conveyance on the property.
A hearing has not been set for the civil case.
Cooper has also been involved in a high-profile legal battle over the decision for ALDOT to build a bridge in Baldwin County.
Cooper has been the director of ALDOT since January 2011.
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