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Stealing the Statehouse

Stealing The Statehouse?

Bill Britt

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taint_use3The following stories are part of an ongoing collection of articles researching the possibility of public corruption within the State of Alabama.

While these articles do not make a judgement, per se, on the illegality of an act, they do record what may be a pattern and practice that appears suspect.

Public corruption is a fatal infection which affects our entire society. It not only endangers our government, but our entire American way of life.

Those who use the power entrusted to them by the people to enrich themselves and their confederates are the worst kind of criminals. They steal from our schools, our neighborhoods, our public projects and our pockets. Worst of all, they betray the sacred trust that good government is founded upon.

“Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, pretenders, who are like white tombs, which from the outside appear lovely, but from within are full of the bones of the dead and all corruption!”

We promise to follow the trail of public corruption wherever it leads, no party, friend nor foe will deter our efforts.

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It is incumbent on the free press to find and chronicle all available information on public corruption.

It is our sincere goal to expose those who betray the public trust and shine a light into the dark corners of politics. With this in mind we submit this continuing investigation into Stealing the Statehouse.

Bill Britt
Editor in Chief

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Will Justice Be Delayed?, 10 August 2015

Mike Hubbard’s Depravity, 07 August 2015

Panic Over Campaign Cash for Legal Defense, 05 August 2015

Hubbard Uses Judge’s Words To Spin Continuance, 04 August 2015

Testimony Says Former Chief Deputy Directed Secret Recordings, 31 July 2015

Hubbard Will Kill Ethics Laws To Save Himself: Opinion, 24 July 2015

Hubbard Wants Ethics Laws He Passed Declared Unconstitutional, 23 July 2015

Change of Venue Not Possible, 09 July 2015

Political Corruption and Asymmetric Information: Opinion, 08 July 2015

Questions Remain About $250 Million “Advance”, 06 July 2015

Hubbard Hauls in Millions: Opinion, 29 June 2015

State Answers Hubbard’s Motions to Dismiss, 25 June 2015

Mark White Says Hubbard is Innocent of All 23 Counts, 25 June 2015

Chief Investigator Leaves Attorney General’s Office, 24 June 2015

Judge to Hold Hearing on Subpoenas in Hubbard Criminal Case, 23 June 2015

Hubbard Says He is Anti-Gambling, 23 June 2015

What Lies Within: Opinion, 22 June 2015

Titanic Failure (Opinion), 05 June 2015

Lobbyist Banned, Rumors About Buying Legislators, 03 June 2015

Well Past Time For Hubbard To Go (Opinion), 01 June 2015

Sisson Always Does Things The Right Way (Opinion), 29 May 2015

Attorney General Answers Questions In Hubbard Case, 28 May 2015

Hubbard’s Attorneys Sue DOJ for Hart’s Records, 27 May 2015

Former Chief of Staff, Deputy AG, Investigator, Part of Web in Hubbard Case, 26 May 2015

Attorney General’s Investigator Terminated For Conspiring To Undermine Hubbard Case, 21 May 2015

Hubbard Selling Out (But Not What You Think), 21 May 2015

When The Shoe Is On The Other Foot: Opinion, 18 May 2015

One Ball, Two Strikes For Hubbard’s Legal Team, 14 May 2015

Hubbard Becomes “Unhinged” Over Republican No Vote on Tax Hike, 07 May 2015

Influential Republican Voice Calls for Speaker’s Removal, 07 May 2015

Hubbard Plan Will Raise Taxes, Give Poarch Creek Tribe Monopoly (Opinion), 06 May 2015

Rep. Ball Says He’s a Target for Speaking Out, 28 April 2015

Investigator with Ties to Former Deputy AG Terminated, 27 April 2015

The Reason I Go To Work (Opinion), 24 April 2015

Meeting with Criminal Defense Brings Day to Abrupt End, 23 April 2015

Ball Wants To Limit Investigation Into Lawmakers, 17 April 2015

Hubbard Motions Hearing Summary, 16 April 2015

Special Grand Jury Still Empaneled to Investigate Hubbard, Others, 15 April 2015

Conformity: A Most Dangerous State of Affairs (Opinion), 15 April 2015

New Court Filings Show Matrix of Overlapping Attorneys May Have Shared Privileged Information, 14 April 2015

Hubbard’s Plot: Opinion, 09 April 2015

Judge Rejects Defense Attempt to Turn Hubbard Hearing into Media Circus, 07 April 2015

Bentley Subpoena Another Distraction, 01 April 2015

In “Hail Mary” Hubbard Subpoenas Governor, 31 March 2015

Hubbard Cries Prosecutorial Misconduct, 31 March 2015

Code of Honor: What Does it Mean?, 31 March 2015

Hubbard Suggested He and Riley Run Shadow Party, 26 March 2015

Court Filing Show Cozy Relationship With Reporters, 24 March 2015

New Court Documents Show Grand Jury Leaks To Defense, 23 March 2015

White Wants More, 06 March 2015

Stealing the State House: His Own Words Condemn Him, 06 March 2015

Hubbard Ignored Warnings, 04 March 2015

Simon and Garfunkel’s Comeback in Alabama, 04 March 2015

Revelations Lead to Calls for Hubbard’s Resignation, 03 March 2015

The Trouble With Hubbard And The Path Ahead, 03 March 2015

Hubbard Cries Poor With Millions In Assets, 02 March 2015

Hubbard Wasn’t Broke, But Motivated by Anger and Envy, 02 March 2015

Prosecution Response to Hubbard Motion Suggests Long List of Potential Witnesses, 02 March 2015

Email to House Members re: Hubbard: “God help us all”, 02 March 2015

Hubbard’s Alleged Crimes Detailed In New Court Filings, 27 February 2015

Remember The Number 23, 27 February 2015

Hubbard’s Alternative Theory, 23 February 2015

The Wages of Fear and Silent Consent, 18 February 2015

Why Did Reagan Retain Baxley/Riley In The Fall of 2013?, 15 February 2015

Using Campaign Donations For Legal Defense: Back Story, 13 February 2015

Is Hubbard Breaking The Law With Criminal Defense Payments?, 10 February 2015

Could This Be Who Is Paying Hubbard’s Legal Fees?, 06 February 2015

A Lie Masquerading As A Reason, 04 February 2015

Paris Group Buys Company With Ties To Hubbard Indictment, 03 February 2015

Three Out Of Four Speakers Step Down, 02 February 2015

Hubbard Trial Set for October, 30 January 2015

Media Silence Is The Key To Hubbard’s Survival, 27 January 2015

Auburn Board Member Asks Bentley To Kill Hubbard Investigation, 26 January 2015

Hubbard Solicits Bentley To Quash Investigation, 23 January 2015

Public Corruption: “When Principles End and Only Opportunism Prevails.”, 20 January 2015

Hubbard Takes To The Airwaves, 19 January 2015

Ninety-Nine House Members To Become Witnesses For The Defense?, 16 January 2015

The House Has Brought Dishonor Upon Our State, 14 January 2015

Mike Hubbard Re-Elected As Speaker, 14 January 2015

Will Hubbard Use His Office To Punish?, 14 January 2015

“Leaks,” Accusations, Paper Trail, 12 January 2015

Hubbard Filing Seeks To Muzzle State, 09 January 2015

White Lies: 2013 Letter Acknowledges Criminal Investigation, 09 January 2015

Hubbard’s Indictments: The Company Behind Count 10, 06 January 2015

Is Talk Radio Part Of Hubbard’s Defense Strategy?, 05 January 2015

Hubbard Files Yet Another Motion, 24 December 2014

Hubbard Files Three Motions To Dismiss (Motions Provided), 22 December 2014

Is Conspiracy At Play To Thwart Justice In Hubbard Case?, 15 December 2014

Is Conspiracy At Play To Thwart Justice In Hubbard Case?, 15 December 2014

Big Luther Blasts Sonny Reagan For Leaking Corruption Trial Information, 12 December 2014

Internal Memo Gives Reasons Reagan Terminated, 11 December 2014

Attorney General Ignores Request For Info on Reagan and Rumors, 10 December 2014

State Says “No” To Hubbard’s Request, 09 December 2014

A Moral Crisis Within State Government, 02 December 2014

Once Again White Spins The Press, 25 November 2014

APR Speaks with Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis, 24 November 2014

US Attorney General Charges President Obama With 23 Counts Of Felony Public Corruption, 24 November 2014

Davis Addresses False Allegations Made by Hubbard and His Attorney, 19 November 2014

Hubbard Attorney Reacts To Davis Statements, 19 November 2014

Van Davis Releases Statement Regarding Hubbard, 18 November 2014

Hubbard Granted Continuance While PR Blitzkrieg Rages, 18 November 2014

Hubbard Solicited And Received $600K For Failing Printing Business, 17 November 2014

Hubbard’s Attorneys Ask State To Identify Witnesses Mental Health, Drug Abuse and More, 13 November 2014

Hubbard Lobbying Governor Tied to $78 Million Dollar RSA Loan, 11 November 2014

Hubbard Pleads Not Guilty, Asks For More Time, 10 November 2014

Hubbard Reelected: What Were They Thinking?, 10 November 2014

Mike Hubbard Re-Elected As Speaker, 07 November 2014

If Hubbard Were In U.S. House, He Would Have To Step Down, 05 November 2014

Opinion: The Good Germans said, “Ich Wusste Nicht Uber Es.”, 04 November 2014

Caucus Fealty Vote: Does Anyone Have The Numbers?, 04 November 2014

Republican House Caucus to Elect Speaker Nov. 6, 03 November 2014

The Trouble with Mike, 29 October 2014

Did Hubbard Use Campaign Donations to Post Bail?, 29 October 2014

Hubbard’s Rally a Disgrace, 23 October 2014

Hubbard Says He Never Misused Office, 23 October 2014

Hubbard Presser: A Theater of the Absurd, 22 October 2014

Special Commentary: Thoughts on a Scandal, 22 October 2014

Hubbard Sends Email of Woe To Caucus, 22 October 2014

Armistead Hopes Hubbard is Not Convicted, 22 October 2014

Hubbard Arrested, Charged with 23 Felony Counts, 21 October 2014

Chronology of the Hubbard Scandal, 21 October 2014

Reaction to Hubbard Indictments, 21 October 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Davis Announces Arrest of Mike Hubbard, 20 October 2014

Special Commentary: A Frenzy of Lies, Rumors and Manipulation, 18 October 2014

Ethics Director Denies Complaint Against Hubbard, 29 September 2014

Expect More Fake Outrage from the Hubbard/Riley Spin Machine, 29 September 2014

Leaked Letter Designed to Discredit Hubbard Investigation, 26 September 2014

Unmasking the Jackals: Inside the AG Conspiracy, 22 September 2014

Deputy Attorney General Caught Leaking Grand Jury Information to Those Under Investigation, 19 September 2014

Court Denies Deputy Attorney General Motion to Quash His Testimony Before Lee County Grand Jury, 17 September 2014

Hubbard “Obsessed” with $200K Renovation of Committee Room, 15 September 2014

Hart Says Moore’s Attorneys Pinned Hopes On “Hail Mary” Defense, 12 September 2014

Hubbard To Use “Pledge” To Retain Speaker’s Seat Even If Indicted, 10 September 2014

Hubbard Investigation May Reach Inside RSA and Commerce, 09 September 2014

Moore’s Team Wants More Time to Prepare a Defense, 09 September 2014

Cutting Through Smoke, Mirrors and Partisan Divide, 09 September 2014

Hubbard Doesn’t Have 9 of 9 Justices In His Pocket, 08 September 2014

Supreme Court Rules Against Indicted Lawmaker: Moore Trial to Go Forward, 05 September 2014

…And Justice For All, 03 September 2014

Is Speaker Hubbard Planning to Purchase Justice?, 01 September 2014

Deadline Passes for Arguments in Rep. Barry Moore Case, 21 August 2014

The Speaker Says, “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire” And I Believe Him (Opinion), 19 August 2014

Sources Link AG’s Chief Deputy to Plot to Remove Hart from Hubbard Investigation, 18 August 2014

Hubbard’s Dominion: VA US Senate Candidate Entangled By Speaker’s Woes, 14 August 2014

Which Candidates Received “Toxic” Money?, 12 August 2014

Riley/Hubbard Funding of Non-Profit Raises Serious Questions, 08 August 2014

Sorting Through the Speaker’s Dirty Laundry, 06 August 2014

Hubbard’s Outgoing Chief of Staff Was One of State’s Top Paid Officials, 06 August 2014

Rep. Mike Hubbard Must Resign His Speaker’s Post, 05 August 2014

Leaked Report Reveals Facts on Hubbard/RSLC, 04 August 2014

Rep. Barry Moore’s Flurry of Legal Filings Answered (W/ 8 attachments), 04 August 2014

Supreme Court May Decide Fate of Lee County Grand Jury, 04 August 2014

Hubbard Continues Paying Attorneys with Campaign Cash, 03 August 2014

AL.COM Columnist Shares a Drink with Hubbard’s Attorney, 24 July 2014

Moore Seeks Stay Of Felony Trial (With Petition), 16 July 2014

Ethics Director Changes Tune on Knowledge of Hubbard Malfeasance, 30 June 2014

Claims of Political Prosecution: A Dishonest Rendering Of The Facts, 30 June 2014

APCI CEO Speaks Out on Wren, Silent on the Speaker, 23 June 2014

Judge Says Davis Has Authority, Hubbard’s Attorney Questions Judge, 16 June 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Judge Denies Dismissal in Moore Case, Hubbard Named as Subject of Investigation, 13 June 2014

Mike Hubbard’s “Liberal Special Interests”, 10 June 2014

The High Cost of Public Corruption, 09 June 2014

Indicted Representative Moore: “I’ll win the race and the case” 06 June 2014

Trial Date Set for Rep. Barry Moore, 05 June 2014

Riley’s PAC Hands Out Big Money to Barry Moore and Others, 28 May 2014

Did Hubbard Embezzle Money? 27 May 2014

State Files Brief in Moore Case, 23 May 2014

Storming the Courthouse: The Road to Lee County, 22 May 2014

Hubbard Has Five Attorneys at Moore Hearing, 21 May 2014

Two Mayors Testify in Lee County, Hubbard Appears To Be Central Target, 20 May 2014

Rep. Clouse Spotted at Lee County Courthouse, 14 May 2014

Busting the Speaker: Has Hubbard Been Indicted?, 14 May 2014

Hubbard Pays Moore’s Way, 12 May 2014

State Answers Motion to Dismiss in Moore Case, 08 May 2014

Moore Says Pipkin Phone Call Recording Was “Illegal Wiretap,” 07 May 2014

Lee County Grand Jury to Reconvene Next Week, 06 May 2014

Hubbard Accepted a Bribe, But Continues to Spin, 05 May 2014

Moore Receives Big Cash Donation from Hubbard Just Days After Arrest, 02 May 2014

Moore’s Attorney Says Ethics Law “Contrary to US Constitution,” Asks For Case’s Dismissal, 02 May 2014

Who Knew What And When: Wren’s Statement of Facts, 28 April 2014

Spinning a Web of Excuses, 28 April 2014

Bringing Down (The Speaker of) The House: Grand Jury Moves Closer to Hubbard, 25 April 2014

Hubbard Issues Statement on Moore Arrest, 24 April 2014

Indictment Documents Include Transcript of Matt Hart Questioning Moore, 24 April 2014

Rep. Moore Indicted, Arrested on Four Felonies, 24 April 2014

Moore Sought Legislation That Could Have Led To Personal Gain, 15 April 2014

Testimony and Ethics Chief Contradict Hubbard’s Press Statements, 14 April 2014

Hubbard Is A Crook!, 14 April 2014

Speaker on Offense, Already Fumbling, 14 April 2014

Former Rep. Wren Lied to Law Enforcement Before Plea, 11 April 2014

Hubbard Casts 12 Votes to Favor Consulting Client (W/Audio of Sumner), 08 April 2014

Dropping the Mike: Wren Deal Damns Hubbard, 08 April 2014

Hubbard Critical of Media Coverage of Wren Scandal, 08 April 2014

Is Hubbard Using Campaign Funds Illegally?, 07 April 2014

Greg Wren’s Plea Agreement, 07 April 2014

Hubbard’s Campaign Money Goes to Criminal Defense Lawyers, 04 April 2014

The Governor and the Speaker: Differing Views on Wren Conviction, 04 April 2014

White Lies, Hubbard’s Contract with APCI Not Vetted or Disclosed, 03 April 2014

Greg Wren’s Prescription for Alabama: A Breakdown, 02 April 2014

Wren Tells Sunday School Class He Will be Indicted, Mar 31, 2014

Moore, Hubbard Plot Intercepted in Job Killing, Political Retribution Scheme, Mar 31, 2014

Mike Hubbard: Spender of the House, Mar 27, 2014

Hubbard Routinely Takes Action Favorable to His Biggest Donors, Mar 17, 2014

Hubbard Using Campaign Contributions To Pay Legal Defense Team, Jan 3, 2014

Click here for more stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Opinion | Inside the Statehouse: Buck’s pocket

Steve Flowers

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You voted Tuesday on a crowded ballot.

Historically, in Alabama we have voted more heavily in our Governor’s race year than in a presidential year. That is probably because we were more interested in the local sheriff and probate judge’s races, which run in a gubernatorial year, than who is president. The old adage, “all politics is local,” definitely applies here in Alabama.

We not only have a governor’s race this year, we have all secondary statewide offices with a good many of them open including Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Auditor, and two seats on the Public Service Commission. We have five seats on the State Supreme Court, one being Chief Justice. All 140 seats in the Legislature are up for a four-year term. These 35 state Senate seats and 105 House contests are where most of the special interest PAC money will go. And, yes, we have 67 sheriffs and 68 probate judges as well as a lot of circuit judgeships on the ballot.

You may think the campaigning is over. However, some of the above races have resulted in a runoff which will be held on July 17. So get ready, we have six more weeks of campaigning before all the horses are settled on for the sprint in November.

We have a lot of folks headed to Buck’s Pocket. Last year after the open Senate seat contest, a young TV reporter for one of the stations I do commentary for asked me about Roy Moore and his loss. I told her ole Moore had gotten on his horse, Sassy, and ridden off into the sunset to Buck’s Pocket, which by the way wasn’t a long ride from his home in Gallant in Etowah County. She looked at me with a puzzled look. Probably a lot of you are also wondering what I’m talking about when I refer to Buck’s Pocket.

For decades, losing political candidates in Alabama have been exiled to Buck’s Pocket.  It is uncertain when or how the colloquialism began, but political insiders have used this terminology for at least 60 years.  Alabama author, Winston Groom, wrote a colorful allegorical novel about Alabama politics and he referred to a defeated gubernatorial candidate having to go to Buck’s Pocket.  Most observers credit Big Jim Folsom with creating the term.  He would refer to the pilgrimage and ultimate arrival of his opponents to the political purgatory reserved for losing gubernatorial candidates.

This brings me to another contention surrounding Buck’s Pocket. Many argue that Buck’s Pocket is reserved for losing candidates in the governor’s race. Others say Buck’s Pocket is the proverbial graveyard for all losing candidates in Alabama.

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One thing that all insiders agree on is that once you are sent to Buck’s pocket you eat poke salad for every meal. Groom also suggested that you were relegated to this mythical rural resting place forever. However, history has proven that a good many defeated Alabama politicians have risen from the grave and left Buck’s Pocket to live another day. Roy Moore may be a good example. He has risen from the grave before. He is only 70, and he may grow weary of eating poke sallet.

Most folks don’t know that there really is a Buck’s Pocket. Big Jim would campaign extensively in rural North Alabama often one on one on county roads. One day while stumping in the remote Sand Mountain area of DeKalb County he wound up in an area referred to as Buck’s Pocket. It was a beautiful and pristine area, but it was sure enough back in the woods. Big Jim who loved the country and loved country folks was said to say that, “I love the country but I sure wouldn’t want to be sent to Buck’s Pocket to live.”

Buck’s pocket is now not a mythical place. If you are traveling up the interstate past Gadsden, on the way to Chattanooga, you will see it. There is a Buck’s Pocket State Park in DeKalb County, thanks to Big Jim.

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So the next time you hear an old timer refer to a defeated candidate as going to Buck’s Pocket, you will know what they are talking about.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

 

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Hubbard’s Lee County Trial Finally Ends in Silence

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The post-trial appeal of convicted felon and former Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, finally expired on September 8, in silence, according to the Attorney General’s office calculations.

For almost four years, Hubbard, aided by his criminal lawyers, used the State House, the Governor’s Office and some within the Attorney General’s office to deny, deflect and delay justice. Hubbard stormed the State House presiding over an orgy of greed and corruption. Those days are over for Hubbard and so is any appeal before the circuit court of Lee County.

Under Rule 24.4 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, Hubbard’s motion for a new trial, dismissal and/or an investigation by the Lee County Sheriff were denied by operation of law because Judge Jacob Walker, III, did nothing.

Under the Rules of Criminal Procedure, “no motion for a new trial or motion… shall remain pending in the trial court for more than sixty days after the pronouncement of sentence.” Hubbard’s sentencing July 8, on 12 felony counts of public corruption, means as of September 8, the calendar has run out for him, with Judge Walker deciding not to rule at all.

Under Rule 24.4: Denial by operation of law. “A failure by the trial court to rule on such a motion within the sixty (60) days allowed by this section shall constitute a denial of the motion as of the sixtieth day.”

At his post-trial hearing, Hubbard’s attorneys made their last stand in Lee County, with Bill Baxley arguing that his client was blindsided, bushwhacked and bamboozled, to no avail.

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The Lee County case of the State of Alabama versus Michael G. Hubbard is over. He has a right to appeal his conviction to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals within 42 days, which expires on October 20.

Hubbard’s past efforts show he will seek every avenue available to delay his incarceration.

Every previous motion that Hubbard has set before the Court of Criminal Appeals, was denied without opinion. Many believe this same fate awaits Hubbard’s next appeal before the high court.

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Hubbard’s days of freedom are rapidly coming to an end. His appeal was silently denied and most didn’t even notice. He is rapidly becoming yesterday’s news.

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Hubbard’s Post-Trial Snoozer

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA—While searching for any thread of an argument that might lead to a new trial for convicted felon Mike Hubbard—once the most powerful politico in the state—attorney Bill Baxley whined, fretted and accused state prosecutors of blindsiding, bushwhacking and bamboozling his client.

Having written about Hubbard’s misdeeds since late 2012, the courtroom drama ending with his conviction makes Baxley’s latest attempt at the September 2 hearing feel like Hubbard trial 2.0 ad nauseam. Only Baxley’s fantastical leaps of legal logic and strained linguistic gymnastics kept the proceedings remotely interesting. Baxley argued several points, only winning on one issue with Judge Walker’s ruling that Hubbard would not be required to pay $1.125 million in restitution, as the prosecution asked.

Before the hearing began, Hubbard’s criminal defense team filed a motion to unseal all court documents related to the case, except one document. Baxley indicated that Judge Jacob Walker knew “the one” he referred too. After some legal wrangling by the prosecution and with Judge Walker, the defense was directed to construct a list of documents to be unsealed. Judge Walker’s decision was followed by Baxley huffing and puffing. Finally, he made reference to testimony given by Professor Bennett L. Gershman a “so-called” expert in prosecutorial misconduct. Hubbard filed to have Gershman’s testimony unsealed in 2015, to no avail.

Testimony given by former State Ethics Directors James “Jim” Sumner is central to Hubbard’s motion to dismiss or grant a new trial, neither of which is likely to occur. But, Baxley and company need to earn the additional $50,000 plus Hubbard recently raised from “friends.” Baxley argued it was improper for the State to present “expert” testimony about what various portions of the ethics statute mean, and whether certain phrases or clauses within those statutes would or would not encompass certain situations or events. The court seemed unmoved by Baxley’s logic since Judge Walker certified Sumner as an expert.

During the two-hour hearing, Baxley’s delaying tactics appeared to try Judge Walker’s patience, especially when the defense claimed they were unprepared to hear testimony concerning jury misconduct. Judge Walker said he set aside other cases to hear Hubbard’s claims of jury misconduct, a surprising claim that surfaced quickly after Hubbard’s conviction.

Hubbard’s criminal defense team citing an affidavit from a panel member filed a motion just days after Hubbard’s conviction calling for an investigation into jury misconduct by an impartial third party. In searching for a neutral investigator, Baxley determined Hubbard’s friend Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones was the best choice.

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From the bench, Judge Walker informed Baxley that there is no legal basis for an outside investigation, and that testimony would be taken before his court to settle the matter. Baxley claimed the defense was once again unprepared for such at the hearing, and the juror who reported the alleged misconduct was unavailable.

Judge Walker questioned the two bailiffs and the court administrators who oversaw Hubbard’s trial. Bailiff Bobby Bond testified that he was instructed by court administrator Patricia Campbell, to caution a juror who reportedly was talking under her breath at the beginning of Hubbard’s trial. Bond said he issued the warning, but the juror denied the allegations and no further complaints were noted. Both Bailiffs who rotated sitting next to the jury box during the proceedings testified they never heard chatter from any jurors.

Under oath, Campbell confirmed she had received the complaint and reported it to Judge Walker, who ordered her to address the situation through the bailiffs. Baxley asked Campbell what was said. She remembered the accusing juror of claiming a fellow juror said, “Yes, now the truth comes out.”

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Defense co-council Lance Bell rose to claim that Hubbard had not received a fair trial an assertion soon rebutted by the prosecution.
He, along with Baxley said the jury was not impartial, and Hubbard should receive, at least, a new trial. Arguing for the prosecution, Assistant Attorney General Katie Langer cited case law and explained the split verdict showed they were, in fact, impartial because otherwise, the trial would have ended with a hung jury.

As Judge Walker pointed out several times, the clock is ticking with very few days remaining before the 60 day deadline brings all proceeding before his court to a close. The trial judge may rule on these motion or simply wait out the clock.

 

Photo Credit: Albert Cesare/Montgomery Advertiser/Pool

 

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Attorney General Reacts to Hubbard Loyalist’s Plans for Ethics Reform

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Alabama House Ethics Committee Chairman, Mike Ball (R-Madison), announced his plans (yesterday) to form a commission to review the state’s ethics laws. Ball, a staunch defender of convicted felon and former House Speaker, Mike Hubbard, told WHNT-TV in Huntsville that his committee would “review the State’s Ethics laws and recommend improvements in time for the opening of the Alabama Legislature next year.”

However, just hours after APR published its story on Ball’s plan, Attorney General Luther Strange, sent his comments.  “I am strongly opposed to Rep. Mike Ball’s idea of a commission to review Alabama’s ethics law. The whole point of such a commission would be to undermine the law,” said Strange.  “Alabamians want our ethics laws enforced, not gutted.”

Ball also said he wanted an “open and honest” process, stating, “Our best chance for success is for it to be carefully looked at, out in the open.” Ball claims he is determined to stop three ethics bills from coming to the House because he didn’t want them “lost in the mix, however, there is a reason to believe other forces are at work, especially given Speaker McCutcheon’s promise of principled leadership.”

It would be difficult to fathom a Hubbard loyalist overseeing a commission to amend laws that landed his former boss in prison.

The day after Hubbard’s indictment, Ball stood by his side at a pep rally proclaiming his boss’s innocence while sporting an “I Like Mike” sticker on his lapel.

Ball regularly appeared on talk radio accusing State prosecutors of conducting a political witch hunt to ensnare Hubbard.

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In April 2015, Ball testified in a pre-trial hearing that Hubbard’s arrest was politically motivated. Under oath, Ball said the ethics laws needed amending to avoid prosecutions like Hubbard’s in the future.

Presiding Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker, III allowed Ball to testify, even though he said Ball’s testimony was not relevant to Hubbard’s indictments. Judge Walker ruled that accusations against Special Division’s Chief Matt Hart were not only irrelevant, but unfounded.

Ball is one of the remaining Hubbard loyalists at the State House.

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