The shape of things to come?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Several decisions over the next few weeks and months could significantly affect Alabama’s future for generations. Among these are, the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions’ replacement, the Special Supreme Court’s ruling in Chief Justice Roy Moore’s appeal and the findings of the Montgomery Grand Jury concerning Governor Robert Bentley.

Bentley is publicly holding casting-calls to find Sessions’ replacement upon his confirmation as US Attorney General. From a novice State representative to Chief Justice Moore himself, Bentley is parading potential candidates around like beauty pageant contestants. Each day the press publishes an ever-expanding list of hopeful nominees. It seems more like a charade than a selection process. Identifying the next junior Senator from Alabama is serious business, with little in common with the spectacle it now seems to have become. Perhaps, Bentley is using the Senate interviews to line up support for the billion dollar prison bill he plans to push in a special legislative session. Perhaps it is simply to hide his real intentions. With this Governor, the only thing you know for sure is that you don’t know.
Read More

Hubbard: Defiant and Unrepentant

By Bill Britt
Alabama Politcal Reporter

Michael G. Hubbard received a sentence of 96 years for his crimes.

However, because he was convicted under State ethics laws, Judge Jacob Walker, III, with advice from the State’s prosecution, gave him a split sentence of 4 years behind bars, with no “good time” or chance of parole, and 16 years probation.

There has been a cry of outrage over what is perceived as a light sentence for such a corrupt politician. But, this is actually a harsh sentence and a reasonable measure due to overcrowding in our State prison system. The State’s prosecution had recommended 5 years in prison and 12 years probation; very close to what Hubbard received.
Read More

Armistead Hopes Hubbard is Not Convicted

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, October 21, the Alabama Political Reporter talked with Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead about the recent arrest of Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn).

Alabama has a general election every four years.  The state elects the bodies of both houses of the State legislature, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, seven members of Congress, the auditor, even one U.S. Senator and numerous other offices as well as five constitutional amendments in just two weeks.

Republicans have completely dominated State politics since 2010 when dissatisfaction with the policies of President Obama and with the Democratic majorities in Montgomery swept Republicans into power. To this point Republican candidates had appeared to be cruising to another crushing of their Democratic rivals in races across the State.  That GOP election domination was perhaps challenged on Monday when perhaps the most powerful Republican in the State, Speaker Mike Hubbard, was arrested on 23 indictment which were handed down by the Lee County Grand Jury on Friday, October 17.

Some of those indictments go all the way back to that 2010 election when then House Minority Leader Hubbard was the Alabama Republican Party Chairman.  Chairman Bill Armistead was elected Chairman following Mike Hubbard’s tenure.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked Armistead if we went ahead and assumed the absolute worst and that Mike did break laws, doesn’t that have nothing to do with any of the other GOP candidates running in two weeks and that people should still be voting GOP if they really believe in the ideas of small government, low taxes, constitutional government, and don’t trust the policies of Barack H. Obama?

Chairman Armistead agreed and said, “The people ought to be looking at the individual candidates that are on the ballot and not looking at one candidate who has been charged with possible wrongdoing,” when they go to the polls in two weeks.

APR asked: Some of the counts go back to when Mike Hubbard was Chairman of the Alabama GOP and you were a member of the steering committee.  You know and worked with Mike, do you believe that he intentionally used the party to make his companies money?

Chairman Armistead said that he was not going to get involved in that and will just let the legal process work.

APR asked: Some of those counts were first uncovered in a GOP audit which flagged them as irregularities.  Do you now regret doing the audit given that likely help lead to the investigative Grand Jury which indicted Mike (Hubbard)?

Chairman Armistead said that it has been his policy not to discuss the ALGOP audit with the press.

APR asked Armistead: What procedures has the party put in place to protect itself from repeating possible conflicts of interest like what is alleged to have occurred under Mike’s tenure as Chairman, in the future?

Chairman Armistead replied: “Two things: I have set up a financial oversight committee and set up a process of doing an audit every two years.  I pledged to perform an audit when I ran for Chairman.”

APR asked: Some Democrats jumped to Facebook and social media to proclaim that (Speaker) Hubbard is guilty and even some Democratic candidates released statements presupposing guilt.  On the other hand there were some Republicans who jumped out there to claim prosecutors had nothing, this is a political prosecution and that Mike is innocent.  Given that all any of us know is from a one page prosecution press release that says Mike has been arrested and lists 23 indictments with little detail, aren’t both sides getting ahead of the facts when even the defense hasn’t yet seen the evidence?

Chairman Armistead said, “Absolutely we have to wait until we see the evidence.”  Armistead said that it is very important in America that everyone be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

The popular ALGOP Chairman told APR, “I am hopeful that there are no convictions.”

Armistead said however if wrong doing has occurred then the legal process should play itself out.

In an official statement released just hours after Hubbard’s arrest Chairman Armistead said, “No one needs to rush to judgment. Right now, all we have is a list of charges. We don’t have the Speaker’s position on these matters and to speculate about them would be unfair to him and an exercise in futility, since we do not know whether any of these charges are true. Again, everybody in our system of justice who is accused of a crime is presumed innocent and must be proven guilty ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ in order to be convicted.”

Chairman Armistead said, “It saddens me that this has happened. In addition to being Speaker of the Alabama House, Mike Hubbard is a human being and anytime something like this happens it is a human tragedy, regardless of the ultimate outcome. My family and I will be praying for Mike and his family. We hope for a swift and just outcome to these matters.”    

Following the spectacular GOP success of the 2010 election, former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) stepped down from his Chairmanship to assume the responsibilities of Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives.

Bill Armistead was a former State Senator and a member of the ALGOP Steering Committee at the time.  He defeated State Representative Jay Love for the post in early 2011.  Armistead was re-elected by the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee in early 2013 defeating then Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Matt Fridy.  Both Fridy and Love were publicly backed by Mike Hubbard.

The General Election will be Tuesday, November 3.

Judge Grants Moore’s Request

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Judge in the Lee County perjury trial of State Representative Barry Moore (R) from Enterprise has granted his legal team more time to prepare their defense.

Following the rejection of his pre-trial appeal by the Alabama State Supreme Court, the legal team working for state Representative Barry Moore (R) from Enterprise told the court that they need more time to prepare a defense for the Republican lawmaker, who has been indicted by the Lee County Grand Jury on charges that he knowingly made false statements to both state investigators and the Lee County Grand Jury.

Judge Jacob Walker (R) agreed and granted the motion.  Instead of the trial beginning on Monday, September 15 it has been postponed to October 27.

Moore’s legal defense team which includes former Alabama Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley (D) are argued successfully that Judge Walker needed time to consider a number of pre-trial issues that they plan to introduce before the trial can commence.

Baxley and Joe Dillard had argued that the case against Rep. Moore be dismissed because they argued that acting attorney general Van Davis and Matt Hart, head of the special prosecutions division of the attorney general’s office, were not properly appointed by Attorney General Luther Strange (R).

Strange had recused himself from this matter because of his relationship with Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn, among others who were likely to be investigated by the Lee County investigation.  Rep. Mike Hubbard was also Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party when Luther Strange was running for Attorney General and as Chairman Rep. Hubbard raised money for AG Strange.  There have been reports that some of that money came from Indian gaming interests.

Van Davis is a retired Republican St. Clair County District Attorney.  Matt Hart is a former federal prosecutor, who has been involved in a number of political corruption trials in Alabama.

On Friday, September 5 the Alabama Supreme Court rejected Rep. Moore’s appeal without comment in a 8 to 0 ruling, meaning his trial on perjury was supposed to begin on September 15.

In addition to more time to get themselves prepared, the defense has charged that prosecutors have withheld information they need to prepare their defense.

Prosecutors continue to deny the claim that they are withholding any evidence from the defense.

Rep. Barry Moore was first elected in the 2010 Republican tsunami that wiped out over 130 years of Democratic control of the Alabama legislature. Moore is a close confidante and ally of the Speaker.  Moore did not want to face a primary challenge from Joshua Pipkin. 

Prosecutors charge that an angry Rep. Moore in a telephone conversation threatened Pipkin that Speaker Hubbard would punish him and the district by killing an economic incentives program for Enterprise if Pipkin dared run and defeat Moore. Despite these threats, Pipkin ran anyway and was easily defeated in the 2014 Republican Primary by Moore, even though Moore was already under indictment.

Rep. Moore allegedly told investigators and the Lee County Jury that he never threatened anyone and denied there was ever a telephone conversation with Pipkin. Allegedly this story does not match other evidence presented to the grand jury, which reportedly includes recording of the phone conversation that was secretly recorded by Pipkin.

There is speculation Moore could be offered some sort of a deal if he will plead guilty and provide evidence against other parties, likely including the Speaker.

Former state Rep. Greg Wren (R) from Montgomery has already pleaded guilty to charges including attempting to use his office for personal gain.  Wren admits inserted wording into a bill to give one corporation a pharmacy benefits manager contract worth $billions in state and federal Medicaid dollars in exchange for a lucrative personal consulting contract.  Rep. Wren still claims he did not know that this was illegal.

Where Wren received no jail time, some sources in the legal community maintain that prosecutors will not be so lenient with Moore and he is unlikely to get a deal at this point that does not involve some jail time. Representatives Moore and Hubbard both maintain that this is all just a political prosecution

Moore’s trial is scheduled for October 27 in the Lee Count Circuit Court.

 

Moore’s Team Wants More Time to Prepare a Defense

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Following the rejection of his pre-trial appeal by the Alabama State Supreme Court, the legal team working for State Representative Barry Moore (R) from Enterprise are telling the court that they need more time to prepare a defense for the Republican lawmaker, who has been indicted by the Lee County Grand Jury on charges that he knowingly made false statements to both state investigators and the Lee County Grand Jury.

Moore’s legal defense team which includes former Alabama Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley (D) are arguing that the trial judge must consider a number of pre-trial issues that they plan to introduce before the trial can commence and there will not be enough time for the judge to rule on these motions for the criminal trial to begin on September 15.

Baxley and Joe Dillard has argued that the case against Rep. Moore be dismissed because they argued that acting attorney general Van Davis and Matt Hart, head of the special prosecutions division of the attorney general’s office, were not properly appointed by Attorney General Luther Strange (R).

Strange had recused himself from this matter because of his relationship with Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn, among others who were likely to be investigated by the Lee County investigation.  Rep. Mike Hubbard was also Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party when Luther Strange was running for Attorney General and as Chairman Rep. Hubbard raised money for AG Strange. There have been reports that some of that money came from Indian gaming interests.

Van Davis is a retired Republican St. Clair County District Attorney.  Matt Hart is a former federal prosecutor, who has been involved in a number of political corruption trials in Alabama.

In a ruling that surprised no one in the legal community, with whom the Alabama Political Reporter spoke, the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday rejected Rep. Moore’s appeal without comment, meaning his trial on perjury should begin on September 15.

In addition to more time to get themselves prepared, the defense has charged that prosecutors have withheld information they need to prepare their defense.

Rep. Barry Moore was first elected in the 2010 Republican tsunami that wiped out over 130 years of Democratic control of the Alabama legislature.  Moore is a close confidante and ally of the Speaker.  Moore did not want to face a primary challenge from Joshua Pipkin. 

Prosecutors charge that an angry Rep. Moore in a telephone conversation threatened Pipkin that Speaker Hubbard would punish him and the district by killing an economic incentives program for Enterprise if Pipkin dared run and defeat Moore.  Despite these threats, Pipkin ran anyway and was easily defeated in the 2014 Republican Primary by Moore, even though Moore was already under indictment.

Rep. Moore allegedly told investigators and the Lee County Jury that he never threatened anyone and denied there was ever a telephone conversation with Pipkin.  Allegedly this story does not match other evidence presented to the grand jury, which reportedly includes recording of the phone conversation that was secretly recorded by Pipkin.

There is speculation Moore could be offered some sort of a deal if he will plead guilty and provide evidence against other parties, likely including the Speaker.

Former state Rep. Greg Wren (R) from Montgomery has already pleaded guilty to charges including attempting to use his office for personal gain.  Wren admits inserted wording into a bill to give one corporation a pharmacy benefits manager contract worth $billions in State and federal Medicaid dollars in exchange for a lucrative personal consulting contract.  Rep. Wren still claims he did not know that this was illegal.

Where Wren received no jail time, some sources in the legal community maintain that prosecutors will not be so lenient with Moore and he is unlikely to get a deal at this point that does not involve some jail time.  Representatives Moore and Hubbard both maintain that this is all just a political prosecution

Moore’s trial is scheduled for September 15 in the Lee Count Circuit Court.  There is no word yet on how Judge Jacob Walker (R) will rule on Moore’s request for a continuation.

 

© Copyright 2016 Alabama Political Reporter