LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Suspended Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes is scheduled to return to the courtroom this summer as a defendant.
Hughes was arraigned on seven felony counts during a hearing Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to five ethics violations, conspiracy to commit theft and perjury. Appointed Circuit Judge Pamela Baschab set Hughes’s ethics trial for June 2021.
Hughes was indicted on the ethics counts in Lee County in November.
Less than 24 hours later he was arrested in Montgomery County for a single perjury count for reportedly giving false information to the Alabama Ethics Commission. That count is currently bound over for grand jury consideration.
The indictment accuses Hughes of using public funds to pay attorneys to settle a private legal matter. Subsequent testimony given during a hearing in December suggested Hughes used public funds to litigate a settlement in a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee.
Additionally, court documents accuse Hughes of illegally hiring his children and issuing a subpoena to a private business to gather evidence for his potential criminal defense. He’s also charged with conspiring to steal a pickup from a business in Chambers County by using a Lee County search warrant.
Hughes maintains his innocence on all counts.
Due to the indictment, it’s a statutory requirement that Hughes be suspended from his position until his case is adjudicated.
A judge appointed a longtime prosecutor from the office to serve as acting district attorney.