AP FACT CHECK: Man dissed by Trump has put felons in prison
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Democrat who was disparaged by President Donald Trump as “soft on crime” is a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted church bombers and domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph.
Trump on Tuesday gave Republican Roy Moore a near endorsement in Alabama’s Senate race, saying Moore “totally denies” allegations of sexual misconduct with teens. Trump then called Democrat Doug Jones soft on crime, border security and the military.
“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the borders. It’s terrible on the military,” Trump told reporters. Trump did not elaborate on the reasons behind his assessment.
Here’s a brief look at Jones’ record and views on the subjects mentioned by Trump :
Jones spent 12 years as a prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1984 and as U.S. attorney in Birmingham under the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2001. He has been in private practice since leaving the Department of Justice, and has worked as a defense attorney for some of the state’s well-connected political figures in white collar cases.
CHURCH BOMBING PROSECUTION
Jones is best known for leading the prosecution of two Ku Klux Klansmen who bombed Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. was convicted in 2001 and remains in prison. Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted in 2002 and died in prison two years later.
ERIC RUDOLPH INDICTMENT
Jones also helped coordinate the task force that led to the indictment of domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph. Rudolph bombed a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998, killing an off-duty police officer. Rudolph pleaded guilty to four terrorist bombings in Birmingham and Atlanta including the fatal 1996 Olympic Park bombing.
Jones says on his campaign website that he disagrees with Attorney General Jeff Sessions “rolling back sentencing reform efforts.” Jones says prosecutors and judges should be given flexibility in handling cases. While on the bench. Jones’ opponent Roy Moore, also criticized mandatory minimum sentences for people he said should be considered non-violent offenders.
It’s not clear what Trump meant by his criticism of Jones’ record on borders. However, Jones has said he does not support Trump’s proposal for a border wall. He called it too expensive and said the money could be put to better use.