The longest-serving member of the Alabama House resigns after pleading guilty to federal charges

FILE - Alabama Sen. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, speaks during a House session at the Statehouse, April 17, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala. Rogers will plead guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice, federal prosecutors announced Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The longest-serving member of the Alabama House of Representatives has resigned from the Legislature after pleading guilty to federal conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges related to a grant program.

John Rogers, 83, submitted his resignation effective last Wednesday, Clay Redden, a spokesman for the House of Representatives confirmed Monday. Rogers also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. The charges are related to what federal prosecutors described as a kickback scheme that diverted money from a fund intended to pay for community projects in Jefferson County.

Rogers, a Democrat from Birmingham, was first elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1982. He agreed to resign as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. However, he would have been ineligible to continue serving with a felony conviction on his record.

He will be sentenced on July 26. Federal prosecutors are recommending that Rogers be sentenced to 14 months of home confinement. He agreed to pay $197, 950 in restitution as part of the plea deal..

The guilty plea comes after former state Rep. Fred L. Plump, Jr. and Varrie Johnson Kindall, Rogers’ former assistant, pleaded guilty to related charges. Federal prosecutors said that between 2018 and 2022 Rogers directed $400,000 to a youth sports organization run by Plump. Federal prosecutors said that Plump gave approximately $200,000 of that money back to Rogers and Kindall.

A special election will be held to fill Rogers' House seat.

Rogers is the third Alabama lawmaker to agree to plead guilty to a criminal charge during this four-year term.

In addition to Plump, who resigned last year, former state Rep. David Cole, a Republican from Huntsville, last year pleaded guilty to a voter fraud charge that he rented a closet-size space in a home to fraudulently run for office in a district where he did not live.