LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – We are learning new information about the indictment and subsequent arrest of Lee County’s top prosecutor, District Attorney Brandon Hughes.
Hughes turned himself in and was booked into the Lee County Justice Center late Sunday around 5:00. We expect a statement from Hughes later Monday.
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office released a statement Monday morning with additional details regarding the indictment of Hughes, the district attorney for the 37th Judicial Circuit of Alabama, on ethics, theft, and perjury charges.
On November 6, Hughes, 46, a resident of Auburn, Alabama, was indicted by a Lee County special grand jury, which charged him with violating the state ethics act, conspiracy to commit first-degree theft, and first-degree perjury.
The statement said Hughes was indicted on five counts of violating the state ethics act for using his office for personal gain, including paying private attorneys with public funds to settle a matter that benefited himself and his wife. Hughes was also charged with the illegal hiring of his three children to work for the Lee County District Attorney’s Office. Finally, Hughes was charged with illegally using the authority of his office for his personal benefit by issuing a district attorney’s subpoena to a private business to gather evidence for his defense to potential criminal charges.
In addition to the charges regarding violations of the state ethics act, Hughes was charged with conspiring to steal a pickup truck. That count of the indictment alleges that Hughes and others agreed to steal the truck from a business located in Chambers County, and that they effectuated the plan by taking a Lee County search warrant into Chambers County and using it to force the business to release lawful possession of a 1985 Ford Ranger.
The final count of the indictment charged Hughes with first-degree perjury for providing false testimony under oath to the special grand jury.
The five violations of the state ethics act charged in the indictment are Class B felonies, each punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
The charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree theft and first-degree perjury are Class C felonies, each punishable by one year and one day to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Clark Morris, with Assistant Attorney General Jasper Roberts of the Special Prosecutions Division. The Attorney General recused himself from this matter, due to his previous service alongside Hughes in the Alabama District Attorneys Association.
No further information about the investigation or about Hughes’s alleged crimes is being released at this time by the AG’s office.
While he is under indictment, Hughes will be suspended as the district attorney. An acting district attorney will be appointed while the case involving Hughes is active.
Last April, Hughes told News 3 he never knowingly violated ethics charges.