From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — The Lee County District Attorney is facing multiple ethics violation charges and was arrested on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Brandon Hughes, 46, of Auburn, was placed into the Lee County Detention Facility and was released after posting a $31,000 bond. The charges Hughes faces include five counts of using public position for personal gain, one count of conspiracy to commit theft and one count of perjury.
“Hughes was indicted on five counts of violating the state ethics act for using his office for personal gain, including paying private attorneys with public funds to settle a matter that benefited himself and his wife,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office. “Hughes was also charged with the illegal hiring of his three children to work for the Lee County District Attorney’s Office. Finally, 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.”
In addition to the charges regarding violations of the state ethics act, Hughes was charged with conspiring to steal a pickup truck. That count of the indictment alleges that Hughes and others agreed to steal the truck from a business located in Chambers County and that they 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 final count of the indictment charged Hughes with first-degree perjury for providing false testimony under oath to the special grand jury.
According to multiple reports, Hughes notified the Alabama Ethics Commission about possible violations in early 2020, but it is unknown if the charges are related to that report.
Hughes told the Opelika-Auburn News he will release a statement on Monday.
The five violations of the state ethics act charged in the indictment are Class B felonies, each punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree theft and first-degree perjury are Class C felonies, each punishable by one year and one day to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.