OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A suspended Alabama prosecutor facing ethics violations has a trial set for this summer.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes was arraigned on seven felony counts during a hearing Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to five ethics violations, conspiracy to commit theft and perjury, WBRC-TV reported.
Appointed Circuit Judge Pamela Baschab set Hughes’ ethics trial for June.
Hughes was indicted in November. Less than 24 hours after the indictment, 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.
A judge appointed a longtime prosecutor from the office to serve as acting district attorney while Hughes’ case is completed.