By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Monday, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard asked that the State provide a more “definite statement” of the 23 Felony charges against him.
Monday’s motion, added to the three that Hubbard filed last Friday, brings the new total to four filings with around 400 pages of motions and exhibits just days before the holidays.
In a motion filed on Monday before Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker III, Hubbard’s attorneys said, “Each count of the indictment is vague to the point where Hubbard cannot prepare his defense and is unable to determine whether each count states a prosecutable offense. While the indictment does use the language of the statute, after reading the indictment, Hubbard is left wondering exactly what criminal act or acts he allegedly committed.”
(See motion here.)
In other words, the defense wants the State to spell out, in detail, the who, what, when, where and why of each of the 23 felonies with which he has been accused.
According to two prominent Montgomery defense attorneys who spoke on background, this is not an unusual request in a criminal trial. And certainly not an abnormal request from Hubbard’s lead white collar criminal defense attorney, J. Mark White, who is better known for his skills outside the courtroom than within, according to a fellow attorney.
It is believed that not only is White requesting the information to prepare a defense, but it is also a ploy to postpone the case and give the prosecution “a lot of homework” over the holidays, as one lawyer put it.
Hubbard’s attorneys complain, “Every count of the indictment merely tracks the language of the cited statutory provisions, leaving Hubbard to draw his own conclusions as to how the statute might apply to him.”
However, this is not only what is required under State statute, it is all that is permissible unless requested by the defense.
According to Rule 13.2. (a) “IN GENERAL. The indictment or information shall be a plain, concise statement of the charge in ordinary language sufficiently definite to inform a defendant of common understanding of the offense charged and with that degree of certainty which will enable the court, upon conviction, to pronounce the proper judgment.”
Under Rule 13.2. (e) “A motion for more definite statement may be made at any time prior to entry of the defendant’s plea, which motion shall be granted for good cause shown. A statement filed in compliance with a motion for more definite statement may be thereafter amended at any time subject to such conditions as justice requires.”
In its response filed Monday, the State asked for an extension so it could respond to the motions to dismiss and answer the motion for more definite statements. The State also said that it intends to oppose the motions, but needs more time to prepare an adequate response “beyond the default seven days guaranteed by Rule 34.1.”
There is reason to wonder how a more definitive narrative of the charges against Hubbard will play into the media campaign being conducted by Hubbard and company. Hubbard has hired one of the State’s most gifted PR firms to handle what has been described as a media blitzkrieg. The billable hours before the holidays must surely be mounting for White and his firm.