Anniston City Councilman Jay Jenkins entered a not guilty plea Wednesday to a felony charge under the state’s ethics law.
“It’s obvious that he pled not guilty and he certainly feels strongly that he did nothing wrong,” said his lawyer, Doug Ghee.
Jenkins, the councilman for Ward 1, was arrested in December on a charge of using his office for personal gain. The Alabama Ethics Commission recommended charges to a grand jury after Jenkins voted in favor of a plan to move City Hall to rented space in The Anniston Star’s building on McClellan Boulevard.
Jenkins’ wife Kim works in The Star’s advertising department.
Anniston city officials sought a new temporary City Hall location after the federal government moved to acquire the old City Hall building on Gurnee Avenue as the site for a new federal courthouse.
City offices moved into The Star’s building in August and demolition of the old City Hall began last year.
Jenkins was set for a plea hearing Thursday, but Jenkins waived the hearing and filed a plea on Wednesday, according to a court document filed at 5:05 p.m.
No trial date has been set. It’s possible the case could be heard in another county.
When Ward 3 Councilman Ben Little faced trial on an unrelated ethics charge last year, his case was moved to a Jefferson County court after local judges recused themselves from the case.
Little was found guilty and sentenced to probation on a misdemeanor charge and remains on the council.