Johnson pleads guilty

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michael Andrew Johnson pled guilty to 12 Class B felonies in Judge Lex Short’s courtroom Thursday morning.

Johnson was arrested on June 16, 2008, by the Covington County Sheriff’s Department, after a county grand jury indicted him with 12 ethics counts of intentionally using his position as a public employee — equipment operator II for the city of Andalusia — for the unlawful personal gain of gasoline. In a 13th count, Johnson is charged with first-degree theft of gasoline valued at more than $2,500.

This month, 24 additional counts were added by the grand jury for fraudulent use of a credit card. Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said at the time of the theft, Johnson worked both for the city, and part-time as a bus driver for a school. He said Johnson was given a credit card by the school for refueling the bus. Instead, he used the access he had to the city’s gas pumps as an employee to fill the bus tank. Subsequently, he was using the credit card to fill his personal gas tank.

He pled to 12 counts of intentionally using a public position for personal benefit.  He entered the plea “blind,” meaning that there is no recommendation on the sentence.

Judge Short will sentence him after a pre-sentencing investigation. As part of the agreement, Johnson will be required to make restitution to the city for $7,600.

The case was prosecuted by Ben Baxley, an assistant attorney general, after former Covington County District Attorney Greg Gambril recused himself, citing a personal friendship with Johnson.