Senator Strange appoints former Chief Deputy as Chief of Staff

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Many questions surround the appointment of Luther Strange as US Senator, but Strange hiring Kevin Turner as his Chief of Staff is an unseen turn of events.

Turner served as Strange’s Chief Deputy until allegations of dubious actions in the criminal investigation of former Speaker Mike Hubbard surfaced. During the heat of the inquiry, sources from both within and outside of the Attorney General’s Office confirmed that Turner was orchestrating a plot to remove chief prosecutor Matt Hart from the Lee County Grand Jury investigation.
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Some are using a stalking horse to undermine ethics laws

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The greatest challenge before the Alabama State Legislature when it returns in February is not the budget, schools or Medicaid. It is the slight of hand chicanery used to undermine the State’s ethics laws.

Since the conviction of former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard on 12 felony ethics violations, a coordinated effort has been underway to weaken those laws, with particular focus on how they identify a “principal.” Read More

Speculation swirls around new Birmingham Water Works Board

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

For several years, lawmakers from Birmingham, Jefferson and surrounding counties have engaged in a turf war to reform the Birmingham Waterworks Board (BWWB). Even now, as the much sought after reforms have become law, as of January 1, 2017, the fight to maintain the status quo continues in backrooms and courtrooms. “Like the sewer debacle, it may require law-enforcement to finally clean up the mess that is the Water Board,” said a lawmaker, speaking on background, while referencing multi-count indictments over the Jefferson County sewer construction scandal in 2005. Read More

What’s happening with Jack?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Few championed the cause of disgraced Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, more than Birmingham Republican State Rep. Jack Williams. From organizing a letter to the Obama Administration’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch to pushing legislation to aid Hubbard, it has been Williams who has fought so faithfully for the convicted felon. Williams has even made calls to raise money for Hubbard’s legal defense, according to those with knowledge of his actions.
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Ethics Commission withdraws McCalla opinion after charities line-up

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In a unanimous vote on September 1, 2016, the Alabama Ethics Commission issued advisory opinion 2016-24, which it believed clarified the question regarding public officials soliciting lobbyists and principals for contributions to a charitable organization, operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The issue was raised by the nonprofit group, Friends of McCalla.

After approving the opinion in a 5-0 vote, the Commission gave a 30-day window for public comment; however, it was extended past the 30 days to December 7.
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Alabama Supreme Court’s Actions: Justice or Machiavellian Scheme

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) and several justices on the Alabama Supreme Court are attempting, it appears, to avoid further unwanted scrutiny of their conduct in the case against Chief Justice Roy Moore.

The Commission, commonly referred to as the JIC, is hoping to steer clear of another growing controversy by dismissing the complaint against Associate Justice Tom Parker, who, like Chief Justice Moore, spoke publicly against same-sex marriage.
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Hubbard Trial Day 10: What The Jury Didn’t Hear

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.
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Welcome to Alabama: The Heart of Corruption

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The chronically delayed trial of The State of Alabama V. Michael G. Hubbard is set to begin Tuesday. Nearly two years after his indictments on 23 felony counts of public corruption, a jury of his peers will hear opening statements from the State, and the defense. There was a defense motion pending before trial Judge Jacob Walker, III, but late on Friday, Hubbard’s defenses withdrew the motion.
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Too Big To Try?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

British Prime Minister William E. Gladstone is credited with saying, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Once again, Speaker Mike Hubbard, who is charged with committing 23 felony acts of public corruption, has asked for a continuance, and it appears Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker, III, may, once again, grant Hubbard’s wishes.

The State’s case against Hubbard is not as complex as his attorneys J. Mark White, Lance Bell and now, Bill Baxley, have been claiming. The crimes Hubbard is accused of committing are based on simple, easy-to-understand laws, laws that Hubbard himself championed and voted to pass.
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BREAKING: Court Denies Hubbard Request for Stay

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—In what is a stunning defeat for Speaker Mike Hubbard, it took the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals only three days to deny his writ of mandamus.

Denial of Writ of Mandamas and oral

Hubbard had petitioned the the Court to stay his trial until it consider motions to overturn rulings by trial Judge Jacob Walker III. What issue(s) were under consideration by the court remain under seal.
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