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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Lauderdale County Coroner George “Butch” Tucker will face impeachment at a trial set to begin on February 7, a circuit judge ruled Thursday.

Tucker’s attorney, Jamy Poss, told the court that Tucker maintains that he was not negligent in his duties as alleged by prosecutors and a Lauderdale County grand jury in November.

The grand jury found there was substantial evidence that Tucker was neglecting his duties, including failing to take blood samples and send samples to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science. He was also accused of lying about reasons for delays in providing death certificates.

An impeachment verdict would result in Tucker’s removal from office.

The case was initially set for trial on January 6, but last week Circuit Judge Gilbert Self ruled Thursday’s proceeding would be a status conference. During Thursday’s conference, a trial set for next week was discussed, but after schedule conflicts and the defense’s need for preparation time were cited, the Feb. 7 date was agreed upon.

Prosecutors said they expect to call 15 to 20 witnesses.  

If Tucker is removed from office, the Lauderdale County probate judge would appoint an acting coroner until Gov. Kay Ivey selects a replacement.