Sentencing for former Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has been postponed from its original date of Tuesday following the Monday death of a law clerk for the defense, according to Richard White, an attorney for Hughes.
It will be rescheduled for a later date that has not yet been set.
Hughes, who on June 24 agreed to a three-year sentence for two felony counts, including first-degree perjury and using his public office for personal gain, was expected to spend at least 10 months in jail according to his plea agreement, but on Sept. 8 he submitted a motion to avoid jail time in favor of a community corrections program along with two years of unsupervised probation.
Hughes’ lawyers argued that Hughes “does not pose a threat to the community.” The community program would allow him to receive the “rehabilitative care he needs to learn from his mistakes,” and he would be able to continue financially supporting his family if he was admitted into the program.
The State of Alabama opposes this motion.
According to the state’s response to the defense’s motion filed Sept. 9, state prosecuting attorneys said, if Hughes were approved by the court to serve his time in a community program, it would show “favoritism of the elite.”
Hughes, 47, turned himself in to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 8, 2020, on 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. Hughes was indicted on all seven charges by a Special Lee County Grand Jury on Nov. 6, 2020.
Hughes originally pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, but after the second day of trial pleaded guilty to first-degree perjury and one count of using his public office for personal gain and agreed to a three-year sentence for both counts.
He will also be required to pay back the $14,000 in public funds he used for legal fees to settle a sexual discrimination lawsuit, and he will also be required to pay restitution to a Chambers County business related to his conspiracy to commit theft charge which was dismissed, according to the state.
In addition to the potential prison time and fees, Hughes, who was suspended from his office after being charged, was removed from the district attorney’s office upon the court’s acceptance of his guilty plea, the attorney general’s office said.
Jessica Ventiere, who was serving as district attorney pro tem after Hughes’ arrest, was appointed Lee County district attorney by Gov. Kay Ivey on July 29.