By Bill Britt
Alabama Politcal Reporter
OPELIKA—In what one veteran attorney called a desperate move, Michael G. Hubbard took the stand in his own defense today, the tenth day of his criminal trial.
The day began with Hubbard’s attorney, Bill Baxley, continuing his cross examination of former Governor Bob Riley, who was trying to woo the jury with his “political” charm.
Under cross examination, Baxley attempted to solicit Riley’s thoughts on the Ethics Laws. That led to an immediate objection by Lead Prosecutor, Matt Hart, which Judge Jacob Walker, III, sustained. Again, Baxley asked Riley to give his opinion on the Ethic Laws, to which Hart objected again. This resulted in Judge Walker telling Baxley, that line of questioning was not going to be allowed, and that he should move on. Baxley ignored the Judge’s instruction and attempted a third bite at the apple. Hart objected, and said the State would ask for sanctions against Baxley, if he continued. This led to a contentious sidebar, during which Baxley could be heard pleading with the Judge, and Hart saying we handled this yesterday. Apparently, there had been a hearing, without the jury or press in attendance, in which Judge Walker disallowed any testimony from Riley about his interpretation of the Ethics Laws. Baxley moved on, questioning Riley about economic development issues. Once again, Hart objected, and the Judge told Baxley to try something else. Riley’s testimony ended with a whimper, not with a bang, as Baxley had planned.