Anniston City Councilman Ben Little pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of violating Alabama ethics law, according to Calhoun County court documents filed that day.
Little was indicted by a county grand jury Jan. 22 on a charge of voting on municipal legislation in which he knew he had a conflict of interest and allegedly voting on a matter in which he had a financial interest.
Both Little and his attorney, Donald Stewart, declined to comment on the case Friday.
Circuit Judge Bud Turner recused himself from the case “in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety and to promote judicial economy,” according to a document filed Friday.
The indictment against Little included no information about specific charges, but the case may be tied to an Alabama Ethics Commission decision that found Little in violation of the state’s ethics laws in May 2017, when he voted against nuisance abatements that included property he owned, and property owned by the church he pastored.
Little said to a reporter the day after the City Council vote that he didn’t think his decision violated ethics laws. He said later that month that the nuisances — vehicles parked at 1003 S. Leighton Ave. and 401 E. 22nd St. — had been “taken care of.”
A reporter visited those addresses in January and found at least one of the vehicles still on the property, in similar condition to when it was reported as a nuisance in 2017.
If convicted of intentionally violating either of the charges, Little could face between two and 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $30,000 and removal from office.