By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Everyone is assumed to be innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the minds of 12 jurors of their peers. That said, an awful lot of people already appear to have made up their minds about Speaker Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) guilt or innocence before either side had delivered their opening statements or heck even before a trial date has been announced. Opinions are all over the board.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead made the following statements after the announcement: “America is the greatest country in the world, and one of the most sacred principles that we have in our criminal justice system is that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. The timing of this indictment, just two weeks before the election, causes one to wonder why now, unless it is for political purposes. But, we saw the same thing four years ago. Just weeks before the general election in 2010, 11 people were indicted in a federal corruption case involving gambling legislation. Of those 11, none were found guilty other than the two who pled guilty.”
The Chair of the Rainy Day Patriots Jefferson and Shelby County, Ann Eubank, released a statement: “Our laws apply to everyone regardless of whom or what they are. There is no special set of rules for politicians and a separate one for ‘we the people.’”
Eubank continued, “The Tea Party and other Conservative groups have been engaging the politicians in Montgomery over the past few years on issues such as Common Core, so we understand how money and influence play into what gets done. Our elected officials should represent the constituents of their districts and the interests of the State of Alabama, not the interests of the leaders of the party or the special interests with the most money.”
Chair Eubank wrote, “This is a sad day for Alabama and Republicans. After 136 years under Democrat Party rule the Republicans finally took control of Montgomery, how did they allow this to happen?”
House Candidate Michael Gladden (D) released a statement shortly after the announcement of the 23 indictments. Mr. Gladden said, “It is disheartening to see our elected leaders embrace corruption and abuse their elected offices for their own, personal gain. I trust the justice system to bring the truth to light. But as I said at the start of my campaign, holding elected office should be about serving the people and not serving yourself. This situation is a perfect example of why we need elected leaders who will use their positions for the people here at home and not to benefit themselves.”
Michael Gladden is the Etowah County Coroner and a Candidate for House District 29, which includes portions of Etowah, DeKalb and Calhoun Counties.
Hubbard’s friend and colleague state Representative Barry Moore (R from Enterprise), whose own trial begins next week was more sympathetic. Rep. Moore said on Twitter, “At the rate there are going to be no business owners willing to serve in #alpolitics I guess we can return to lawyers and career politicians.”
According to original reporting by the Anniston Star’s, Tim Lockette on Twitter, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said, “Anybody that knows me, knows I could have made a lot more money not being in the Legislature.”
House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D) from Gadsden wrote, “You never like to hear about things like this. You never want to see anything like this happen to anyone. It shakes the peoples’ faith in their elected leaders. It’s obvious this is not politically motivated, because it is a Republican Attorney General leading the investigation. It is sad to see that, in less than four years, our leaders have embraced the culture of corruption that they ran against in 2010.”
Republican radio host Leland Waley wrote on Facebook, “Of the 23 counts against Speaker Hubbard, only about 5 have a remote shot at a conviction. The rest are fluff and impossible to prove.” While he could be right, how Waley could have reached that conclusion from looking over a one page press release in an hour, likely requires more faith in Mike Hubbard and his formidable legal team than it does legal training.
Mitchell Dobbs said in a statement, “The indictment against House Speaker Hubbard is filled with textbook examples of public corruption – 23 counts in all – including illegal lobbying, kickbacks, conflict of interest, and using public office for personal gain. Unfortunately, he is not the Alpha and Omega for corruption in Montgomery. Hubbard, a close ally of former Republican governor Bob Riley, has led a caucus of corruption in the Alabama House.”
Rep. Micky Hammon said on Twitter: “Corruption at any level of gov’ will not be tolerated, but an indictment is not a determination of guilt.”
Former Alabama College Democrat Political Director Cody Jones said on Facebook, “Alabama Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) has been indicted by a grand jury of the Great State of Alabama. The vengeful wraith of a proud, hard working people against its parasitic politicians has begun.” Jones now lives in Maine.
Chairman Armistead, whose internal investigation into GOP finances led to some of these indictments, 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 continued, “While it is sad that this has occurred, life goes on for the rest of us and we have an election coming up in two weeks. Our focus will be getting our candidates elected. I am proud that we have the strongest crop of candidates in the history of the Alabama Republican Party, from local county offices to U.S. Senator. We will not be distracted by our opponents who will want to use this situation to smear our candidates and our party. I must remind everyone that these charges and indictments are against one individual, not the party and not our candidates.”
Chairman Armistead concluded, “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.”
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was indicted on Monday following a prolonged investigation by a Grand Jury in Lee County. Speaker Hubbard was charged with 23 Class B felonies.
Mark White, Hubbard’s attorney, announced they will hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss the indictment.
Speaker Hubbard himself posted a video on Facebook. Speaker Hubbard said that this was, “Nothing but a political witch hunt.” Hubbard attacked the timing of the indictment two weeks before the general election and said, “The fact is we have done some great things in this state and some powerful people don’t like it. Here in Lee County we have been very successful. We created 3,000 new jobs and have low unemployment. And I am sleeping well tonight because I know the people of Lee County and this district are gonna know this is politics at its worst.”