|Paul Littlejohn III
Paul Littlejohn III resigned from his paid position with the Cobb campaign one day after his arrest for allegedly violating the state's sex offender registration and notification act. Cobb angrily called Littlejohn's arrest "politically motivated." From a report at al.com:
"It's as politically motivated of a charge as I've seen," Cobb said, noting that the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is headed up by a Republican Sheriff Mike Hale. "Why? The Republicans don't want to run against Sue Bell Cobb. Governor Ivey doesn't want to run against Sue Bell Cobb. They found that as an opportunity to take advantage of information that had been sent out into the public forum."
She said an arrest warrant was issued after she held a news conference defending Littlejohn's character after news reports surfaced about his background.
Republican operative Rob Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley, serves as an attorney for Hale and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
Littlejohn served a 30-year sentence for three crimes: rape by forcible compulsion, sodomy and robbery. His political activities have not been limited to Cobb. Reports al.com:
Since Littlejohn's release in 2014, he has worked for two Democratic campaigns: Randall Woodfin's victory in last year's Birmingham mayoral election, and for the Doug Jones campaign ahead of his win in last year's special Alabama Senate election.
A representative for the Jones campaign said late Saturday that they do not have any records of Littlejohn working for the campaign, and that he was not paid for campaign-related work.
Littlejohn said his 30 years behind bars came after he naively entered a guilty plea to the charges against him:
It was a plea deal Littlejohn took, he says, because his attorney insisted that if it went to trial, he could get life without the possibility of parole.
"I didn't know any better," he says. "When he said 'life', I thought it meant life. Thirty years sounded better. [My attorney] thought he made a good deal."
Littlejohn says he employs 12 people full-time for canvassing neighborhoods up to six days each week and three others for phone-banking. He pays $10 per hour, higher than the minimum wage.
"I have 12-to-14 people," Littlejohn says, "who depend on me to eat."
Not surprisingly, he is passionately loyal to Cobb, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. They met initially, he says, after he had done canvassing work for the Doug Jones and Randall Woodfin campaigns.
Littlejohn doesn't think of himself as an ex-con, doesn't dwell on the three decades spent behind walls topped with barbed wire, or the years after his release when he could not secure a job. "It got so bad, I got turned down by Burger King," he says.