By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Much talk has been generated over the last week by the Attorney General’s Special Grand Jury impaneled in Lee County. We believe it has been convened to look into the activities of Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn).
The Special Grand Jury in Lee County is being led by Matt Hart, the head of the AG’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division.
According to the the AG’s office, “In 1996, Miles Matthew Hart began working at the Attorney General’s Office as an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Trials Division, moving the next year to the Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division that had been newly-created by then Attorney General Bill Pryor. Serving in this division until 2002. Hart then moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he served as director of the state and federal Joint Public Corruption Task Force for the Northern District of Alabama from 2003 to 2009.” According to the AG’s Office, “There Hart achieved, ‘nationally-recognized success in the prosecution of corruption at the highest levels of state government in Alabama.’”
It was Hart who conducted and supervised the grand jury investigation and prosecution of corruption in the state’s two-year college scandal. Hart’s prosecution snared the former chancellor Roy Johnson, as well as several legislators, contractors and state employees.
He was the leader of the special grand jury investigations that contributed to the conviction of several county commissioners in Jefferson County. Hart was also the force behind the special grand jury investigation and prosecution of former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford.
Several of Hart’s former colleagues describe him as a fair and non-political prosecutor; dogged and uncompromising.
“He sees only black and white/right and wrong,” said one former associate. They also described his prosecutorial style as meticulous and thorough: “Hart is going to collect every scrap of paper and every piece of evidence. And when he knows he’s got you…well, that’s going to be the worse day of your life.”
One individual who was questioned by Hart in a previous grand jury proceeding said, “He can be like the Prince of Darkness at times. When he questioned me I thought…this is the meanest man in the world.”
This sentiment was shared by several people we interviewed who had been questioned under oath by Hart.
While Hart’s detractors see him as evil, his fellow prosecutors say Hart is “tough, fair and unafraid.” One former prosecutor said, “If Hart is going after Hubbard, then Hubbard will be indicted.”
For the last 12 months, the Alabama Political Reporter has been reporting that Hart has been investigating Speaker Hubbard’s activities. Finally, the rest of the world will learn what we’ve known all along.
Hart’s colleagues say the man behind the investigation is a man driven by a desire for justice, which they say makes him a dangerous man to those who commit crimes while holding public office.