A Montgomery County grand jury indicted suspended Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes on a first-degree perjury charge on March 5, according to court documents.
Hughes, who was elected as district attorney in 2016, self-reported a possible ethics violation to the Alabama Ethics Commission in 2020. The perjury charge comes from statements Hughes made to the commission regarding a sexual discrimination claim to his office from a former assistant district attorney.
During the ethics commission hearing, Hughes said the claim was not related to racial or sexual discrimination, according to a transcript of the hearing.
During a preliminary hearing for his perjury charge in Montgomery on Dec. 3, 2020, prosecuting attorneys presented a $14,000 check from the district attorney’s fund that was used to pay for the legal expenses that resulted from the sexual discrimination claim, and Montgomery County District Judge Pamela Higgins found probable cause to send the case to a grand jury.
Hughes is facing one first-degree perjury charge in Montgomery County, while in Lee County he faces five charges of using position for personal gain, one first-degree conspiracy to commit theft charge and one first-degree perjury charge.
Hughes was indicted on all seven charges in Lee County on Nov. 6, 2020.
Hughes’ ethics charges are in reference to him using his office for personal gain, including paying private attorneys with public funds to settle a matter that benefited himself and his wife. The charges are also in connection to Hughes’ illegal hiring of his three children to work for the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office said.
Hughes is also charged with conspiring to steal a pickup truck from a Chambers County business by allegedly using a Lee County search warrant to force the business to release the pickup truck, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Circuit Judge Pamela Baschab scheduled Hughes’ trial for June 2021 in Lee County after a virtual arraignment March 3. Hughes pled not guilty to all seven felony charges leveled against him in the county, court documents show.