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District Attorney Brandon Hughes adds perjury charge in Montgomery
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District Attorney Brandon Hughes adds perjury charge in Montgomery

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Hughes

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes speaks during a cell phone safety presentation in February 2018.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes was booked into the Montgomery County Jail Monday afternoon after the Alabama Attorney General’s Office charged him with an additional charge of perjury, adding to the five counts of ethics violations, one count of conspiracy and another count of perjury he was already charged with in Lee County.

“[Hughes] was booked in Montgomery County based on a complaint filed by the Attorney General’s Office charging him with first-degree perjury for allegedly giving false testimony to the Alabama Ethics Commission,” a statement from the Attorney General’s Office reads. “Hughes’s arrest for perjury in Montgomery follows his indictment in Lee County charging him with multiple counts of violating the State’s Ethics Act, conspiracy to commit theft of property, and perjury.”

First-degree perjury is a Class C felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Hughes, 46, turned himself into the Lee County Detention Facility on Sunday evening before being released on a $31,000 bond. He was indicted on five counts of violating the state ethics act for using his office for personal gain, one count of conspiracy and one count of first-degree perjury, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

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 his three children to work for the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office said.

“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,” a release from the Attorney General’s Office reads.

Hughes is also charged with conspiring to steal a pickup truck from a Chambers County business.

“That count of the indictment alleges that Hughes and others agreed to steal the truck from a business located in Chambers County, and that the 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 release reads.

The final count of perjury came from giving false testimony under oath to a special grand jury, Attorney General’s Office said.

The five ethics violation charges leveled against Hughes are Class B felonies and are each punishable by 2-20 years in prison and fines of up to $30,000, while the conspiracy and perjury charges are Class C felonies and are each punishable by 1-10 years in prison and fines up to $15,000, according to Attorney General’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Clark Morris with Assistant Attorney General Jasper Roberts of the Special Prosecution Division. Attorney General Steve Marshall rescued himself from the case due to his previous service alongside Hughes in the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

Hughes, who was elected as district attorney in 2016, self-reported a possible ethics violation to the Alabama Ethics Commission earlier this year, though it is unknown if the recent charges are related.

Hughes was awarded Alabama Prosecutor of the Year in October by VOCAL, an Alabama’s victim advocacy organization.

Hughes told the Opelika-Auburn News he will release a statement regarding the charges on Monday.

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