Chief Justice Roy Moore set to stand trial on judicial ethics charges

Roy Moore, Alabama Chief Justice

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is going before a judicial ethics panel to answer charges that he abused his power by trying to block gay couples from marrying in the state.

The state panel that disciplines judges will hold a trial-like proceeding Wednesday.

The outspoken Alabama jurist could be removed from office if the panel determines he violated standards of judicial ethics.

Moore is accused of urging 68 probate judges to defy federal rulings on same-sex marriage. He denies the charge, saying he told judges he couldn’t offer them advice.

Moore’s potential removal comes at a moment of political upheaval in the state. The state’s house speaker was removed from office this summer for ethics violations and a committee is investigating if there are grounds to impeach Gov. Robert Bentley.