Gerald Hebert was a senior trial attorney in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice and worked with Sessions during his tenure as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Alabama. In 1986 he testified at Sessions nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a federal judgeship. While the media focused on negative aspects of Hebert’s testimony, he actually spoke very highly of Sessions:
“I consider him a friend of mine, more than just a U.S. attorney in the southern district. I call him when I go into Mobile even if I am not there necessarily on departmental business, and he has occasion to call me when he has been in Washington.”
“And as I said a few minutes ago, I really—I have a very good personal relationship with Jeff Sessions. I have worked side by side with him on some cases in the sense that I have had to go to him for some advice.”
“I believe that when Jeff Sessions says he is going to do something, he is a man of his word and he will do it.”
“And so if his testimony before the committee is that he would follow the law faithfully, I personally would believe him.”
Hebert flatly said that Sessions was not a racist and found it troubling that his testimony led some to view Sessions as such. When pressed, Hebert refused to call Sessions prejudiced and reiterated that Sessions was a “man of his word,” and he declined to corroborate then-Senator Joe Biden’s theory that Sessions’ decision to prosecute voter fraud cases was racially motivated.