The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 1, 2014

Ala. GOP legislator resigns, pleads to misdemeanor

Associated Press

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — One of Alabama's veteran Republican legislators, Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery, resigned from the Legislature on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ethics violation.

Wren entered the plea in a Montgomery courtroom shortly after he submitted his immediate resignation from the Legislature. Wren's attorney, James Anderson, said Wren made an unintentional violation of state ethics law. Anderson said Wren did not know that a company he represented also had a relationship with an Alabama business and that Alabama business would have benefited from language that Wren added to the state budget last year.

Anderson said Wren's plea deal includes an agreement to cooperate with the attorney general's office in an ongoing investigation.

District Judge Jimmy Pool gave Wren a 12-month suspended sentence and placed him on probation for two years. As part of the plea agreement, Wren will pay $24,000 in restitution to the state.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Wren said, "I'm kind of glad to have this behind me."

He said he could not speak about specifics of the case and referred questions to his attorney.

Wren, 59, is a four-term veteran of the Alabama Legislature. He was first elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1994. He left the Legislature between 2002 and 2006 but returned in 2006. He announced in November that he would not seek re-election this year. His resignation came with three meeting days left in the 2014 legislative session.

Wren's legislative positions have included chairman of the Joint Legislative Medicaid Committee. He was also chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on Federal Health Reform Implementation.