By Bill Britt
Opelika—On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III heard the defense’s motion to dismiss in the perjury case against indicted State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise. He took it under advisement until further evidence could be presented.
But, it was not the ramblings of Moore’s defense attorney Bill Baxley, or the calm response of Deputy Attorney General Michael Duffy that proved so interesting. It was the presence in the courtroom of no less than five criminal defense attorneys, all who represent Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard.
Hubbard has repeatedly said that the Moore indictments have nothing to do with him, despite the fact that Moore has been indicted for lying about threats, Moore said were made by Hubbard.
So, if Moore’s case has nothing to do with Hubbard, why was J. Marl White, Lance Bell and three other lawyers representing Hubbard in the courtroom?
(One attorney familiar with White’s practice estimated the cost for their appearance at around $10,000 for the day.)
As Baxley gave his semi-incoherent defense, White could be seen, slumping down in his seat, body tilted to one-side, twisting his arms around his body. At other times, he would hold his head in his hands or vigorously rub his head. The constant rotation of ticks which White displayed seemed to coincided with each misstep that Baxley took.
In his written motion to dismiss, Baxley listed some 40 odd reasons. But, when faced with a judge, he whittled his argument down to two points. One, was whether or not the indictment had been properly written. Two, did Special Attorney General Van Davis, and prosecutor Matt Hart have standing before the Grand Jury.
Baxley seemed disparate to have Judge Walker believe that Davis and Hart could have walked off the street for all he knew and that there was no evidence that they had any authority to act of behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.
Duffy provided the court with the section of State code that gave the Attorney General the authority to appoint Davis. And he even pointed out, that Judge Walker was the one who impanelled the Grand Jury over which Davis presides.
Under section 36-15-15, “The Attorney General …may direct any district attorney to aid and assist in the investigation or prosecution of any case in which the state is interested.”
Baxley then complained that he didn’t know of any document that was on file that gave Davis such authority.
Duffy explained that the document from the AG was sealed, but he would provide it to the Judge for an ex parte in camera review (which means that the court would review the document in private, off the record).
All parties agree to this arrangement.
Baxley also tried to say that the inducement was improperly filed, but Duffy dispatched that augment quickly.
The thrust of Baxley’s case seemed to be an attempt to have the Judge declare the Grand Jury he had impaneled as tainted, dismissing its findings.
In the last bit of business the judge asked Moore if he would like to wave his arraignment which was scheduled for later in the week. Moore said that he would, which means he will fill out a form saying he understands the charges against him and offer his plea.
J. Mark White refused to speak with the Alabama Political Reporter, as he hurried from the courthouse with his band of lawyers in tow.
Baxley did grant a brief interview, saying that he still wasn’t certain if Davis was the Special AG from Timbuktu or that Hart was a prosecutor from Bagdad.
Baxley may have missed a step or two in court, but his humor and wit seemed firmly intact.