Jury Selection Begins in Ethics Trial of Former County District Attorney Lee Brandon Hughes
AUBURN, Alabama (WRBL) – The stage is set as suspended Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes prepares to defend himself against multiple criminal ethics charges.
Jury selection began Monday morning inside the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University. The decision was made to hold the selection process at the site because the pool of potential jurors is so large. After the jury is seated, the trial will take place at the Lee County Justice Center. The selection process could take a few days.
As of Monday, several potential jurors had already revealed that they knew or had a friendship with Hughes and / or members of his family as prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office, the Hughes defense team and the circuit judge named Pamela. Baschab asked them if they could be fair and impartial after hearing the evidence in the case.
Hughes pleaded not guilty to five ethics violations, conspiracy to commit theft and perjury. Hughes was indicted in November and is charged with using public funds to pay lawyers to settle a private legal case; testimony given at a preliminary hearing suggested that Hughes allegedly used public funds to argue a settlement in a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee.
Additionally, court documents accuse Hughes of illegally hiring his children and issuing a subpoena to a private company to gather evidence for his potential criminal defense. Hughes is also charged with conspiring to steal a pickup truck from a Chambers County business using a Lee County search warrant.
Hughes claims his innocence on all points. Hughes was elected Lee County District Attorney’s Office in 2016. He was suspended after his arrest. A judge appointed Jessica Ventiere as a deputy district attorney to oversee the office.
It is not known if Hughes will take his defense. The trial could last at least two weeks.