The federal judge scheduled to preside over the fraud and corruption trial of former Governor Don Siegelman and two co-defendants is a second cousin of Governor Bob Riley.
The article appears in today's Mobile Register newspaper.
Jeff Emerson, Riley's chief spokesman, confirmed the relationship between the governor and US District Judge Lynwood Smith Junior.
The case stems in part from a long-running joint state-federal investigation into alleged activities of the Siegelman administration, which spanned from 1999 to 2003. The former governor, a Democrat, has characterized the case as a partisan exercise driven by Republican prosecutors.
Government attorneys have denied a partisan agenda. Emerson said Riley, a Republican, was not aware of Smith's involvement in the case until his office was contacted by a newspaper reporter.
A law clerk in Smith's Huntsville office said the judge's policy is not to comment on any pending case.
Siegelman, his former chief of staff, Paul Hamrick, and Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo are scheduled for trial August second in Tuscaloosa.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys were unavailable for comment today.