22 Oct 2014
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, wasted no time in contacting the Republican House Caucus, to assure them of his innocence, and to beat the drum of political prosecution.
The question remains: who will believe a man who is indicted of 23 felony counts of wrong doing while holding the Speaker’s gavel?
Hubbard proclaims to the caucus that the charges against him are false, and that he has never misused his office or broken trust with the caucus members.
Hubbard seems to want to assure the people that hold his political future in their hands that he is not guilty of the things which a Grand Jury of his peers have accused him. Much like a cheating spouse, Hubbard wants them to believe his words and not their own lying eyes.
Although Hubbard says he will “vigorously fight these false charges through the justice system,” it is that same system that has seen fit to indict him on multiple counts of wrong doing.
Hubbard continuing on said, “It doesn’t come as any surprise to you that I have been the target of a political witch hunt. I have suspected so from the beginning, and the timing of these charges – coming two weeks before the election – leaves no doubt.”
He continues to say that he is the victim of a political prosecution, but fails to name those who are orchestrating the attack. This is standard fair for any indicted politico. They whine incessantly into the abyss hoping that someone will hear and believe.
Hubbard, who is accused of using his office for personal gain and for receiving money and other things of value from his “clients” American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc, (APCI) and Southeast Alabama Gas District, (SEAGD), wants his fellow house members to believe that all his actions were sanctioned by the Alabama Ethics Commission. Jim Sumner, who was the State’s ethic director, did see Hubbard’s contract with SEAGD, and pointedly the commission's, legal council Hugh Evans, III, wrote, “The only potential issue that we saw would be if something came before the legislature that uniquely affected the Southeast Alabama Gas District differently than it affected all other utilities around the State of Alabama. Should this happen we would expect that speaker Hubbard would have plenty of notice in which to remove himself from discussions, votes, etc.”
It would seem that the Grand Jury saw something amiss with how Hubbard executed his work for SEAGD.
As for his contract work for APCI, the indictments show that Hubbard tried to pass legislation favorable to his client, which is a felony offense according to State ethics law.
Even more revealing is that Sumner could not have approved Hubbard contract in any real sense, because he admitted to this publican that he never even saw it.
In his email Hubbard states, “I have not violated the public’s trust, and I never will. I wish I could say the same thing about the rogue prosecutor who is leading this assault on me.”
Does he mean that the chief of the Attorney General’s white collar crimes unit, is a rogue actor? Trial Judge Jacob Walker, III, the state Criminal Court of Appeals and the State’s Supreme Court have concluded that the there is no rogue prosecution or prosecutor. Yet, once again, Hubbard expects the Republican Caucus to believe him in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
Lastly, Hubbard wants the caucus to know he is going to fight, and fight, and fight some more, and with a note of warning he tells the group, “this could have been done to any one of us.”
From: Mike Hubbard
Date: October 21, 2014 at 8:35:47 AM CDT
Subject: Message To Members
Fellow Members of the House of Representatives:
By now, many of you have read or heard about the accusations against me. I will vigorously fight these false charges through the justice system, and I am confident that I will prevail. My first obligation as always, is to answer to the people of my district who elected me. Secondly, I am obligated to you, the Members of the Alabama House of Representatives, who honored me with your trust as Speaker.
I want you to know that I have not misused my office or abused your trust. I have considered it a privilege and sacred duty to serve with you in the Legislature and to make significant changes – not for our benefit, but for the benefit of our constituents and our state.
It doesn’t come as any surprise to you that I have been the target of a political witch hunt. I have suspected so from the beginning, and the timing of these charges – coming two weeks before the election – leaves no doubt.
While this is something no one wants, and it has been painful for me and my family, there is a silver lining. I could not defend myself against innuendo and leaks. But I can and will defend myself against these charges.
From the very beginning, I took great pains to separate my personal business life from my public service. On multiple occasions, I consulted with the Ethics Commission’s director, Mr. Jim Sumner, to ensure that I adhered to all ethics laws, and I trusted his expertise and followed his advice. I went above and beyond what was legally necessary to make sure I followed the law. I have not violated the public’s trust, and I never will. I wish I could say the same thing about the rogue prosecutor who is leading this assault on me.
I intend to fight these charges with everything I have, because I believe there is much more at stake than my political future. Remember, this could have been done to any one of us! I am fighting to prove that using the legal system for political purposes is wrong and will not be tolerated.
Rep. Mike Hubbard
Speaker of the House
Alabama House of Representatives
18 Oct 2014
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
What began on Thursday as a post on Facebook by a bloviating, third tier, AM Radio entertainer—that there were to be indictments in the Lee County Special Grand Jury investigation into Speaker Mike Hubbard—ended with a veteran al.com reporter serving as apologist-in-chief for the beleaguered lawmaker.
The events that followed on Friday may best be described a digital lynching, fueled by so-called political insiders, faux media and rumormongers.
Certainly, people are eager to see justice served, but justice is never rendered with righteous exactness, in the circus of the bizarre or a stampede of judgment.
Many questions come to the forefront of thought on this rumor-filled firestorm: “Who leaked information to the AM bloviator, Matt Murphy? Why was semi-pastured reporter Chuck Dean in Hubbard’s office? Who, if anyone, orchestrated the events of Thursday and Friday? And lastly, who profited?
When Murphy took to the air waves on Friday to discuss the “indictments” they turned out not to be the subject of the conversation. Instead, Murphy pounded on the idea that there were “leaks” coming from the Attorney General’s Special Grand Jury. When Dean held his private interview with Hubbard— attorney J. Mark White on hand—one of the ideas put forward by Hubbard was that there were legal leaks coming out of the Grand Jury.
Hubbard is reported as saying, ”It is supposed to be a secret process, but obviously there are leaks everywhere….”
“Leaks everywhere”? This is an idea that Hubbard’s attorney has put forward on a number of occasions. White would like for the public, especially certain judges, to believe his nonsense, so that perhaps the entire proceeding could be proclaimed as broken and illegal.
His original theory, as proffered by attorney Bill Baxley, was that the Grand Jury was illegally impaneled because W. Van Davis and Matt Hart had no authority to act. This argument was rejected by the trial judge, the criminal court of appeals and the State Supreme Court.
Hubbard’s attorney, White, is best known as a media manipulator and fixer, not a trial lawyer (Just ask Milton McGregor who lost millions due to White’s courtroom acumen).
So, it is no wonder that he stoops to cheap tricks like a rent-a-clown at a kids’ birthday party.
White, who once had a reputation as a respected attorney, may find that representing Hubbard will be his undoing.
White has lied so often to the media that it would be impossible to know when he is telling the truth, other than to expect that when his lips are moving, he is spouting nonsense. Over a year ago he told the media that he was representing Hubbard and his family, against those who were defaming and spreading false rumors. This was reported as fact by al.com reporters, who appear to have a cozy relationship with Hubbard and White.
Could it be that White planted the leak with Murphy directly, or through surrogates, to further the notion that “leaks are everywhere?” That is certainly a plausible theory.
Perhaps Hubbard and his attorney actually thought that the indictments were coming Friday and wanted to be in front of the news.
But anyone with a modicum of understanding of how the justice system in the State works, knows any indictments issued on a Friday would not result in an actionable arrest warrant until Monday. Simply put, State law says that if you are indicted on a Friday you can’t be arrested until Monday.
Hubbard’s attorney surely knows this, so why the theatrics?
Perhaps White wanted to foster the idea of a sympathetic Hubbard as portrait in Dean’s apologia, (cue the violins). “He waited Friday, from the wee hours of the morning and throughout the day and into the night as rumors swirled that he had been indicted by a Lee County Grand Jury on public corruption charges.”
Are we to feel sorry for a man who has repeatedly used his office for personal gain, who has destroyed careers because he could, who has used his power like a battering ram to enrich himself while ruining all who stood in his way?
Do we have sympathy for a man who behaved like the sons of Baal? I think not. For far too long our State’s leaders have shown apathy for the devil politic, giving lip service to the idea of ethics reform. It is high time to wake up and realize that the ship of State is not moored in the safe haven of conservative ideology, but is sinking in a sea of lust, greed and corruption, with Hubbard at the helm.
On Friday morning, talk radio entertainers across the State were parroting Murphy’s false report. Later Inside Alabama Politics, climbed on the story, even reporting in the afternoon that arrests were in progress throughout the State.
It does’t take a genius to know that massive arrests happen in the early hours of the morning not in the late afternoon. The reason they occur in the morning is because law enforcement knows where to find the perp.
Of course, a quick call to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones would have been enough to confirm that no one was being booked at the Lee County Jail in connection with the Grand Jury and that no arrests were in progress.
As for who profited from the event? It would be hard to say, as to who looked like fools, stooges and idiots, that easy.
So, it was that the faux media around the who State got it wrong. That is no surprise. They have either been co-opted by the likes of Hubbard, or just too lazy to check the facts.
It is amazing that these people are even allowed to work in the news trade.
But, what is more alarming, is that people actually believed them.
15 Oct 2014
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The investigation and conviction of former Director of Federal Programs for the State Department of Education, Dr. Deann K. Stone and her husband David Stone, bears a striking similarity to the Lee County Special Grand Jury investigation into Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.
Stone and her husband were both charged and convicted of five felonies. Most of the charges stem from a violation of State ethics law; the intentional use of her office for their personal gain.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, “Dr. Deann Stone took actions to manipulate the grant process to ensure that school districts that have agreements with Dave Stone’s business employer received millions in federal grant money.” A Montgomery County jury took only two hours to convicted the Stones, after the two week trial.
The investigation that led to the Stone convictions began under the authority of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division. This is the same unit that is investigating Hubbard.
The Division was established by Attorney General Luther Strange almost immediately upon taking office nearly four years ago. The investigation unit is led by Special Prosecutions Chief Miles M. Hart, the same lawman investigating Speaker Hubbard. Also involved in the investigation and conviction of the Stones were Deputy Attorney General Mike Duffy, and Pete Smyczek who are also on the team investigating the Speaker.
An Attorney General’s Special Grand Jury was impaneled to investigate the actions of Mrs. and Mr. Stone in the same manner as the Lee County investigation. Because of the complexity of the case and the thousands of pages of documents and many witnesses that were needed, the resources of a Special Grand Jury was necessary; just as it has been in Lee County.
Top education leaders, like State Superintendent Tommy Bice, were called before the Grand Jury, just as leading lawmakers, like Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, have been called before the Special Grand Jury in Lee County.
Law enforcement agents say that without the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division, the case against the Stones could never have been made. As a matter of fact, the case against the couple was brought to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and they refused to take jurisdiction over the investigation. This should give pause to those who continue to call for federal intervention in the Lee County investigations, even though the funds that Deann Stone was convicted of using were federal grant monies.
Special Agents and Auditors of the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, did assist in the case, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office passed altogether.
Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick presided over the case, even after Luther Strange had asked for a recusal, because the Attorney General believes the judge was, “biased against the Attorney General's office.”
However, even with a Judge believed to be hostile toward the prosecution, the grand jury proceedings, the conduct of the investigators and allegations of political prosecution were never mentioned in the case. This is quite contrary to what the defense has attempted in the Lee County cases.
The Stones were charged with five felony counts stemming from Mrs. Stone using her office for personal gain, the couple were convicted on all counts.
This publication has written over 100 investigative pieces into the actions of Speaker Hubbard and others, that might lead a reasonable person to conclude that Hubbard has used his office in like manner.
There is a great impenitence for definitive action out of the Lee County Special Grand jury.
If there is one parallel between the two investigations that should give concerned citizens hope, it is that the same unit and men are on the case in Lee County.
17 Oct 2014
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—A flurry of charges and counter-charges were set-off due to an email from Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, saying that Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard is providing campaign cash and other campaign resources to Chris Sells, who is the Republican candidate for House District 90.
Armistead’s allegation was quickly denied by Sells, who insisted that Hubbard was only supplying fundraising opportunities.
Armistead’s revelation and the subsequent denial by Sells has led his opponent, Walton Hickman, to suspect that Hubbard is providing campaign cash and other campaign resources to Sells. This may help explain what motivated Sells, who qualified to run as a Democrat on February 7, to switch party affiliation and run as a Republican in June.
Walton Hickman, Sells’ opponent, says that Sells’ public statements and his official campaign filings raise serious questions about who is paying for Sells’ campaign and whether Sells has violated campaign reporting laws.
In an interview with Brandon Mosley published on Wednesday, Sells identifies his campaign manager by name, but then states, unequivocally, that he “is not paying her.”
“All voters, Republican, Democrat or Independent, should be concerned with a man being able to change his party affiliation so quickly. What would make him do such a thing?” Hickman asked. “Clearly, the offer of financing and campaign resources is a very probable answer to that question....If Mike Hubbard is making all the decisions now, as the Republican Chairman indicates, then Hubbard will make the decisions for Sells if we send him to the legislature. We don’t need that,” Hickman said.
Sells’ campaign disclosures do not show any payment to his campaign manager nor do they show any in-kind contributions to pay for these professional services. Failure to show such contributions could be a violation of the State campaign disclosure laws.
“So, who is paying for Chris Sells’ campaign manager and why didn’t Sells report the contributions on his disclosure?”
“Chris Sells seems to think he can say or do anything to get elected and that no one will care, or that we’re not smart enough to see through what he is doing. Our district needs a strong independent representative in the legislature and that’s why I’m running.”
Hickman raises serious questions about Sells’ trust worthiness, as a party switch and a possible pawn of Hubbard, who is under criminal investigation by the State’s Attorney General’s Office.
13 Oct 2014
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Criminally indicted State Representative Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, stood before Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III on Friday for his pretrial conference.
According to Rule 16 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure:
A pretrial conference is designed to improve the quality and speed of the trial and to discourage pretrial activities that are wasteful and unnecessary.
Once again, Moore’s attorneys sought additional Grand Jury transcripts, and their request was denied by Judge Walker.
According to a report filed by Drew Taylor of the Opelika-Auburn News, Moore's attorney Joel Evan Dillard asked for additional Grand Jury transcripts to present “context of Moore’s testimony” before the Grand Jury.
Moore is charged with two felony counts of perjury and two felony counts of making false statements before the Lee county Grand Jury. The Grand Jury was impaneled a little over a year ago to investigate potential criminal activities by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, and others.
These charges come from allegations that Moore made threatening statements to Josh Pipkin, leading up to the Republican primary in Enterprise. Pipkin recorded his conversations with Moore, and on those tapes, Moore can be heard communicating threats that he says were on behalf of Speaker Hubbard.
When Moore was asked before the Grand Jury if he had ever communicated such threats to Pipkin, he denied that he had. However, the tape recordings made of conversations between Moore and Pipkin paint a completely different picture.
At Friday’s pretrial conference, Moore’s famed attorney, Bill Baxley, was noticeably missing from the proceedings. Moore was represented by Baxley’s partner, Joel Evan Dillard and Dothan attorney, Derek Evan Yarbrough.
It was recently revealed that Baxley also represents Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan, the Deputy Attorney General who has been accused by Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis, of leaking Grand Jury information to individuals affiliated with those who are under indictment or under investigation in Lee County. Many "top flight" attorneys have pointed to a serious conflict of interest by Baxley for representing both men.
According to the Opelika-Auburn News, Judge Walker denied Moore’s request for more Grand Jury transcripts. Moore’s attorneys also requested copies of text messages that they believe to exist between Pipkin and Moore and between Pipkin and Wiregrass Economic Development Executive Director Jonathan Tullos.
State’s prosecutor Michael Brian Duffey said that he was unaware of any text messages. Lead investigator and white collar crimes chief, Matt Hart, called Moore’s request “Fishing.”
Judge Walker ruled that Pipkin should hand over any text messages, if they still existed.
Jury selection will begin the week of the twentieth, with the trial set to began in Judge Walker’s court on October 27.
The trial is expected to last two days.