Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Jessica Ventiere as Lee County’s new district attorney Thursday after the last district attorney, Brandon Hughes, pleaded guilty to two felonies.
“I am honored to accept Governor Ivey’s appointment as District Attorney of Lee County,” Ventiere said in a statement. “I am humbled by this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens in Lee County.”
In the governor’s letter to the new district attorney, she asks Ventiere to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money and work to instill trust in government.
“I have made honesty and integrity a priority in my Administration, and I know that you will embody these two virtues while serving the people of Alabama,” Ivey said in her letter. “The responsibility that comes with this appointment is not to be taken lightly. I trust that you will rise to the occasion and set a standard for others to follow.”
Ventiere formerly served as the as the chief assistant district attorney under Hughes before becoming the county’s district attorney pro tem following Hughes’ indictment Nov. 6, 2020, for multiple felony charges, which included five counts of using a position for personal gain, one count of conspiracy to commit theft and one count of first-degree perjury.
After a two-day trial in which Ventiere testified, Hughes pleaded guilty to first-degree perjury and using his public office for personal gain and agreed to a three-year sentence for both counts and is expected to spend 10 months in jail according to his plea agreement.
After Hughes’ guilty plea and removal from his office, Ventiere was appointed by the court as the county’s acting district attorney before her appointment by the governor as the new district attorney on Thursday.
“Jessica Ventiere will be a great district attorney for Lee County,” said Barry Matson, executive director of the Alabama District Attorneys Association. “Jessica has proven her [mettle] by keeping that office focused on its mission of seeking justice and public safety during a very difficult period. I appreciate Gov. Ivey choosing such an honest, dedicated and hard working district attorney. “