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Suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore filing appeal to get his job back

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is expected to file his appeal brief Tuesday or Wednesday in his bid to reclaim the job he was suspended from in September.

Moore’s attorney Mat Staver said the brief will be filed in the next few days and he expects oral arguments in the case to be held early in 2017.

Moore was suspended in September for the remainder of his term, after the Alabama Court of the Judiciary found he had violated Alabama’s canons of judicial ethics.

The charges were brought in May against Moore by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, stemming from Moore’s order in January 2016 to the state’s probate judges regarding the issuance of marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

The JIC and the Court of the Judiciary found that Moore had encouraged the state’s judges to defy federal court orders, including the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.

Moore has disputed that claim.

His attorney told WHNT News 19 that some members of the Alabama Supreme Court had worked against Moore.

“There’s been some real problematic things that have happened behind the scenes that we believe the public needs to be aware of,” he said.

Staver said the JIC leaked to various media outlets the fact that Moore was going to be charged with violating the judicial ethical canons before formal charges were announced. He said that’s a violation of the Alabama Constitution and the JIC’s rules.

The JIC did not respond to WHNT News 19’s request for comment Monday.

Moore petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court to take up the issue of the alleged leak, but the petition didn’t get far. Staver wants the court’s record on that issue to be opened to the public.

He said members of the court don’t want it released.

“I believe that’s why they don’t want to unseal it, because it makes it very obvious that this case was set up by a few people on the Alabama Supreme Court from the very beginning,” Staver said.

A panel of retired judges was selected to hear Moore’s appeal. That same panel last week asked the JIC to respond by Dec. 21 on why Moore’s request -- and a request by the blog, Alabama Political Reporter – to unseal the file, should not be granted.