Wednesday, the Moore teams filed a motion with the court asking that James Hedgspeth be removed as special prosecutor in the case against Caleb Moore. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s son, Caleb, is being investigated for criminal trespass.
In the filing, the defense asks that Hedgspeth be removed for bias, conflict of interest and unethical professional conduct. In support of this petition Caleb Moore shows unto the court the following:
Caleb Moore is alleged to have, in late 2016, a dispute arose between Caleb Moore and Ernest Payne resulting in cross warrants between the aforementioned parties. Defendant Moore was charged in district court in 2016. Ernest Payne and his son Joe Payne were charged in district court. Following that and eleven months after the events, Caleb Moore was charged again for actions which arose from these same events.
On May 8, 2017, James Hedgspeth entered his appearance as a special prosecutor and supernumerary District Attorney in this matter after the District Attorney recused himself. The defense claims that sometime on or around October 6, 2017, Caleb Moore met with Hedgspeth, at the urging of Hedgespeth, and without the knowledge and consent of Moore’s defense counsel.
During this conversation, the defense claims that James Hedgspeth attempted to discuss pending criminal charges against Caleb Moore and even offered to dismiss the case if he would pay the attorney’s fees of Earnest Payne.
The defense claims that such conduct was biased, in violation of Rule 4.2 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, and in violation of the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The defense offered as evidence a detailed affidavit from Caleb Moore.
The defense argues that this conduct reflects bias, a conflict of interest, and unethical conduct of the on the part of Hedgspeth which would clearly disqualify him from acting further in this case.
The defense has also filed a bar complaint against James Hedgspeth and has asked the court to remove and disqualify Hedgespeth from the case.
Caleb Moore has had a troubled past with a number of run-ins with the law, usually involving drugs; but has been able to avoid any really serious charges. In this incident, Moore is accused of trespassing and hunting on Payne’s property without permission.
The defense claims that filing the last charge 11 months after the incident was brought and timed to hurt Roy Moore’s candidacy for U.S. Senate (Moore lost a close election to Doug Jones).